kenny florian” src=”http://www.cagepotato.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/kenny-florian.jpg” alt=” width=”495″ height=”495″ />
This should not be Florian’s stiffest test before Aldo. Just saying. PicProps: Examiner.com
Dana White has all but made official the next featherweight championship fight, saying that Kenny Florian “pretty much” is next in line for Jose Aldo, and we’ve kind of grumbled about it. It’s not that we don’t like Ken-Flo — we do — but we’re not entirely sold on Florian as the number one contender in the featherweight division.
Being brand new to the weight class, most reasonable people would expect Florian to get two or three good wins before they throw him in against the Brazilian destroyer of legs and faces. It’s not like we’re asking him to go on an eight fight win streak before he gets a title shot, just spend more than fifteen minutes in the weight class.
Being the kind and helpful people we are, we decided to share our own ideas about who Florian could fight next to strengthen his case for a shot at the belt. If Florian wins, then by all means slate him for the Aldo fight. If he loses, he probably wasn’t ready anyway, right?
vs. Chad Mendes
Money Mendes would be a perfect test for Florian, who had difficulty with Gray Maynard‘s wrestling at UFC 118. Florian has worked to improve his wrestling, but Diego Nunes was not going to test that — Mendes would test the shit out of Florian’s TDD and scrambling. If Florian beats Mendes, he’ll make a clear statement that he belongs in the title picture at 145. The catch here is that Mendes already has a fight scheduled for UFC 133 on 6 August, against Rani Yahya. Against Rani Yahya. Rani Yahya. Yeah, they could totally scratch that fight.
vs. Mark Hominick
Hominick came up short against Jose Aldo, but did it in the most impressive manner possible. Clearly a top five talent, Hominick is dealing with postpartum depression after giving birth to that forehead alien Aldo gave him, and has a clear schedule. As soon as he’s medically cleared and ready to fight, we’d love to see him return to challenge Florian. While the Canadian striker wouldn’t necessarily test Florian’s ground game, he should be a good litmus test for Florian’s striking at 145, and we know there will be no shortage of heart when Hominick enters the cage.
vs Dustin Poirier
If you want to sound like a New Orleans native, that city should be properly pronounced “Nawluns”. Draw out that first syllable a little bit. Similarly, Dustin the Diamond’s surname would be “Pwawyay”. In general, just go slowly and cut down on enunciation, and the locals will at least think you’re from somewhere nearby, rather than another damn tourist. Anywho, Josh Grispi would be in this slot, except he’s now lost two in a row, one of those courtesy of our young friend from Lafayette. Poirier has one loss at 155, and he’s looked great as an undefeated featherweight. While admittedly this is a very dangerous fight for Florian — Poirier is no name opponent — we’d like to see someone test Florian’s cardio and resolve at 145. Poirier should administer that test capably.
There are few fighters in the UFC’s featherweight division more well-known than The Korean Zombie, so this would be a big-name matchup worthy of a main event five rounder. Like Florian, Jung is long and tall at 145, and dangerous both standing and on the ground. While it debatable if a win over Jung would bolster Florian’s claim to contendership, who cares? It would be plenty of fun to watch. Jung’s dance card is clear after his redemption win over Leonard Garcia, so can we pencil this one in at the end of the summer?
vs Hatsu Hioki
The Sengoku champ and much-ballyhooed potential pickup will need a test of his own when he signs with the UFC, and a Hioki-Florian matchup sounds like a great chance to take the temperature on both fighters. Hioki looked like a complete fighter in his victory over Marlon Sandro, showing better striking to complement his already tight ground game. That victory earned Hioki nods as a top five talent from pretty much everyone, so a victory puts Florian as a legitimate championship contender, something we haven’t been completely convinced of quite yet. Again, Hioki hasn’t been officially signed yet, but when he is, Florian would be a blockbuster first fight for him.
What you got, Nation? Is Ken-Flo ready for Aldo, or should he take another fight first?