Now that the dust has settled on his second unsuccessful run at a UFC lightweight title, it’s time for Kenny Florian to look to the future and learn from the mistakes of his past. In this interview with ProMMARadio, Florian blames his long layoff for his submission loss to BJ Penn at UFC 101, and hopes to get back in cage right away against a tough opponent. Some highlights:
On ring rust: "I didn’t think it would be a factor, just because I stayed busy throughout, I was training hard…but it definitely was. Being almost nine months away from the cage, it hurt me. With my striking, it’s always an issue…I just found that I couldn’t get my range and my timing going during the fight, and felt I wasn’t effective there. I just felt uncomfortable with my striking."
On how he was doing until he lost: "I figured that I definitely won the second and third [rounds]. The first, he caught me with a good shot, but I was kind of off-balance so it looked like I got knocked down…Going into the fourth, obviously, with where he ended up with the takedown on top, I knew he was obviously going to win that round and my goal was trying to survive and just try to make it to the fifth where I’d be able to push and try to squeeze out the win…the commissioner came over to me and said that a couple of the judges had me winning the first couple rounds, I was two to one, or one of the judges had me all three, I don’t know exactly what happened, but he told me that a couple of the judges may have had me winning."
On what he would do in a rematch: "It’s everything…I really feel that’s there’s a lot of little things that I should have done better in the whole-round game, obviously the wrestling, me being able to finish there with my takedowns, I think my entry was very good, my timing was okay, but finishing just wasn’t what it should have been. My striking, my timing was off, so I think that comes down to just me being a little more active."
On his next step: "I’m looking forward to seeing what the UFC has in their plans for me. I just want a tough fight, it’s gonna have to be someone tough at least once or twice for me to get back in there for the belt, and we’ll see what happens. I’m looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to the challenges, certainly there’s a ton of challenges left for me at 155…I want to get right back in there in a couple months."
On Penn vs. Sanchez: "I don’t think [Sanchez] has the striking to get it done. I don’t think he has the wrestling to get it done. He has phenomenal cardio, phenomenal heart, great ground skills, but I think he’s going to have some trouble with BJ. I see BJ winning that fight. I just think BJ’s going to be a little bit too much for him. Crazy things happen all the time in this sport, but you gotta have BJ as the favorite going into that fight, no doubt about it."