(Plan your work, work your plan. PicProps: ESPN)
You didn’t think Kenny Florian would just drop to 145-pounds without a plan in mind, did you? If you did, you don’t know KenFlo. Nope, the now former perennial lightweight contender’s camp has a pretty detailed blueprint of what they’d like to see Florian do at featherweight. As manager Malki Kawa tells MMA Weekly on Wednesday, they think their guy will be on the fast-track to the top once he returns from a knee injury and gets his weight headed in the right direction. Check it out:
“A top contender,” Kawa says about Florian’s first 145-pound opponent. “Whoever the No. 1 contender is at that point is the guy I’d like to get. What would be my ideal situation is for him to get a fight in June, whoever the No. 1 contender is, win that fight and then hopefully set something up for Brazil with (Jose) Aldo, if the UFC’s up for it.”
Something tells us the UFC would be totally up for it if Florian notches a win or two in his new division. The company did, after all, previously try to set up a bout between Aldo and KenFlo at lightweight, but the current No. 1-ranked featherweight turned it down. Hard to blame him, since he’s living so large at his natural weight. Wonder if Aldo ever bargained for Florian coming after him like this, though?
The move to featherweight could pay good dividends for the Massachusetts native, if for no other reason than it opens up some fresh options for him. He won’t likely run into any more Gray Maynard-types down there either, though the competition at 145 is fast shaping up as its own nasty little level of hell. With Tyson Griffin also cutting down, there are any number of compelling first foes for Florian: Chad Mendes (our pick), Dustin Poirier (the new kid), Josh Grispi (even after a loss, he’s dangerous), Michihiro Omigawa (same), Manny Gamburyan (same), even Mike Brown (same, same).
Mendes likely makes the most sense to any kind of storyline that includes Florian earning a quick title shot, since the undefeated Team Alpha Male prospect is himself believed to be one win away from a bout with Aldo. We’d pay money (or at least tune in to a Fight Night) to watch that scrap.
If you can lay any criticism at Florian’s feet for making this move, it’s that it sort of makes Melvin Guillard look like he had a valid point when he said he didn’t consider Florian a top contender at lightweight anymore. Nobody likes it when Melvin makes a valid point, right? Would have been nice to see those two guys go at it, just to see if Guillard really is who he thinks he is.
Anyway, out of sight, out of mind. We’re legitimately kind of excited to see who the UFC matches Florian up with first at 145-pounds and to see how far he can go at the new weight, where he could potentially be kind of a monster.
“We went down to 45 because that fight with Aldo was one that stuck in my head,” Kawa says, possibly trying to downplay the effect of Florian’s two previous losses in 155-pound title fights and one No.1 contender bout as the impetus for the move. “I’m just like Dana White, I want to make the biggest and the best fights that I possibly can, and I’m thinking Kenny Florian vs. Jose Aldo one day, I think that’s a pretty big fight.”