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Kenny Florian and Tyson Griffin Are Headin’ Down to Featherweight



(They can beat up pretty-boys and clowns, but how will Florian and Griffin do against the featherweight elite?)

Now that the UFC has a 145-pound division, it was only a matter of time before a few lightweight contenders decided to chase the belt where the competition’s a little smaller. The biggest name so far is Kenny Florian, who told ESPN.com yesterday that he’s taking himself out of the lightweight mix to try his hand at featherweight:

“I started playing around with the idea: could I make 145? Originally, I didn’t think it was possible,” Florian said. “I spoke with a few nutritionists, got their opinions, told them what my body fat was, my walking-around weight, all that stuff and the general consensus was that it was very possible…[The UFC] is very supportive. They’re very excited about the move…My goal is to get the 145-pound belt, and then go up to 155 and challenge for that belt as well.”

You may recall that Jose Aldo‘s management turned down a fight with Florian at lightweight because Florian was coming off a loss, was never a champion, and isn’t in the pound-for-pound top ten. You have to wonder if the insult is still weighing on Ken-Flo’s mind. Florian’s manager Malki Kawa definitely still has Aldo in his sights:
“Like [UFC president] Dana White, I like to make big fights,” Kawa. “And a fight with Aldo has been sticking in the back of my head since the UFC asked us for it. If there is a way to make it happen, I want to. If it looks like the only way that fight can happen is if Kenny moves down to 145, that’s what we’re going to do”…”He’s not going to get a title shot at 145 directly,” Kawa said. “We’re asking for a top guy, and then maybe after one or two more fights, he can get a title shot. He should be ready to make his 145-pound debut in June or July. He has been cleared to start training this week.”

Florian has gone 0-2 in lightweight title fights, and most recently dropped a unanimous decision to Gray Maynard at UFC 118. He was supposed to return to action against Evan Dunham in January, but that match was scrapped after Florian suffered a knee injury.

In a related story, Tyson Griffin is also looking to re-invent himself as a featherweight while recovering from his own knee issues. The Xtreme Couture product confirmed the news in a video blog on TysonGriffin.com:

“Been having some problems with my knee, decided to get an MRI, found some tears in my meniscus, decided to get those cleaned out, and it’s gonna be a few more weeks until I can put my knee to the test to make sure everything’s good to go and commit to a fight. Nobody wants to be back in the Octagon quicker than I do. Got some big plans for 2011, unfortunately they’re put on hold right now. But those plans are to move to 145 and make a run for that belt.”

Griffin is on a three-fight losing skid, after dropping a split-decision to Evan Dunham (which should have been a unanimous decision), getting KTFO’d by Takanori Gomi, then getting robbed by the judges against Nik Lentz. Will a new weight division be enough to right the ship? We just hope he’s not matched up with Kenny Florian first, because that would sort of defeat the purpose of this whole thing…

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