by Cage Potato contributor Elias Cepeda
After a dominant win over Clay Guida, Kenny Florian is setting his sights on UFC newcomer and former Pride champ Takanori Gomi. In the exclusive talk with Cage Potato, he gives us his thoughts on the match-up, and lets us know how he really feels about seeing his old nemesis Diego Sanchez fleeing the lightweight division.
Fans have followed your twitter posts and saw you yesterday on ESPN’s “MMA Live” talking about fighting Takanori Gomi. Has anything developed further since then? Is the fight officially signed by all parties?
No nothing has been signed as of right now. We’re in talks and its being talked about as a main event of the March Fight Night card in North Carolina. I’m excited with that possibility but nothing has been signed yet. Of course it’s something that I’m willing to sign and I’m sure Gomi will as well when the contract has been delivered.
Were you surprised when it was announced that Gomi was signed by the UFC? He’s struggled since 2006 when he lost to BJ Penn. We are both different fighters from the first time we fought and of course I’d love a rematch with Diego. Who knows? Maybe it’s still something that could happen, you know? Maybe we could meet at a catch weight or maybe we could do it at 155. I think Diego wants big fights. I still see this as a viable option in the future.
You talk about this in a very calm and classy way, and you did that yesterday in your role as a commentator for “MMA Live.” But given that Diego was talking a lot when he moved down to lightweight basically saying, ‘I saw Kenny doing so well and I kicked Kenny’s ass so I should be able to do really well,’ – I know you saw those comments and you’re not with “MMA Live” right now, you’re talking with CagePotato. Is there any satisfaction in seeing Diego decide that he can’t do it at lightweight and go up to welterweight again?
(Laughs) You know, I pretty much predicted that. The skill level at 155lbs is the best in the UFC, if you look across the board, in terms of well-rounded fighters. You are not going to come in to the UFC 155 division and start finishing guys right away. People see me doing it and what do they think I’m doing, just lying around not training? I train my ass off every single day to be able to do that and it’s not an easy thing to be able to finish guys at 155. That’s something I really pride myself on. The only guys, I think, at 155 that are consistently finishing people are me and BJ Penn. I think that takes a special skill to be able to do that. Not everybody can do that, I don’t promise to be able to do that all the time but that’s the way I fight and that’s the way I train to fight.
Diego thought he was going to be able to go out there and just smash people at 155. Not going to happen, Diego. The skill level is too good out there. You have to be very, very well rounded. He thought what he was able to do at 170, he was going to do even better at 155 and that’s just not the case. It just shows me the talent that is out there at 155. In my opinion, Diego just never looked great at 155.