potato awards
CagePotato.com Presents: The 2014 Potato Awards

Tag: BJ Penn

Exclusive Interview: Kenny Florian

KF

By CagePotato Guest Contributor Ben Fowlkes

On April 2nd, Kenny Florian headlines the next edition of Spike TV’s “UFC Fight Night,” where he’ll take on lightweight up-and-comer Joe Lauzon. While most fans know that Florian, like Lauzon, got his start in the UFC with The Ultimate Fighter, what they don’t know is that his journey really began with a near-death experience that changed his outlook on life.

Florian took a trip to Brazil in the summer of 2003 with the goal of improving his jiu-jitsu. While hiking down a mountain with some friends, Florian slipped on the wet, mossy rocks and began sliding off a precipice. Friends tried to grab him, but Florian plummeted over the edge and fell “for what seemed like an eternity.” He landed on a rounded rock that stopped his fall and ultimately saved his life. The experience was an eye-opening one for Florian, and it prompted him to abandon the safety of his white-collar life and pursue his dreams.

In this exclusive interview, Florian talks about the ramifications of that incident, about being haunted and motivated by defeat, and about his impending showdown with Lauzon and what it means for his career.

CagePotato: You came into the UFC by way of The Ultimate Fighter, and you’d only had a few professional fights at that point. What’s the major difference between that Kenny Florian and the one we see in the Octagon now?
Kenny Florian: That last Kenny Florian’s a punk. No, the Kenny Florian on The Ultimate Fighter was a guy who was trying to test his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He was a guy who really wasn’t sure if he wanted to become a fighter. It was just an opportunity that was presented to him at the time.

Now you’re seeing a guy who wants to learn it all and who wants to be a master of it all, and who sees the beauty in any technique that works. Whether it’s striking or wrestling or expanding my jiu-jitsu game for MMA, I’m trying to not only get good at the individual arts but find a circle of techniques that flow into each other and compliment each other. It’s an art in itself, just finding what works for MMA.

Now that you’re fighting at lightweight and having success, do you ever look back and wonder, “What was I thinking trying to be a middleweight?”
I was fat, that’s the main thing that comes to my mind. I had no concept of nutrition, of strength and conditioning. Not until after the Sherk fight did I have any concept of those things like the way I do now. I was definitely a work in progress, but I was crazy then. I was really a natural 155’er who was given an opportunity to compete at 185 and I thought, why not? I had nothing to lose.

I had no idea it would become this big, running show. I thought it could have been my only opportunity to fight for the UFC or fight on TV and help bring this sport to the masses. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and on top of that, week after week, I became more confident. I thought, with the skills I have now I’m doing well against all these experienced mixed martial artists, I may have a chance at winning this thing.

It was really one of my first experiences with mixed martial arts and it was a great chance to work out with great coaches like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell and find out what it takes to get to that next level. Those are the guys that planted the seed in my head for what I’m doing now.

Reading past interviews with you, it seems like you’re really motivated by your losses. What’s it like after a big loss, when you get back to the dressing room and have to face that dark moment? How do you move past it?
It’s a terrible, terrible feeling. My loss to Sean Sherk haunts me to this day. At the same time it motivates me, and I can look at it as a positive experience. You can let things like that defeat you, or you put them behind you and learn from them and get better. That’s what I tried to do. There’s no such thing as a setback in life. There are only lessons. We’re made to evolve and get better and faster and stronger. You can do that within your own life.

It’s like pushing weights for the first time and your body’s sore and it sucks and it’s really hard, but after a while your muscles and your nervous system and everything gets stronger. Your muscle memory gets better. That’s the way it is with certain things in fighting. If you have a loss, you need to look at it and learn from it. What technical mistakes did I make? What strategic mistakes did I make? What mental mistakes did I make?

You cover all those bases and, if you need to, write it down and start working on patching those holes up. You can only look at it as a positive and live in the present day. If you live in the past, you’re dead.

Read More DIGG THIS

‘No Fear’ T-Shirts Still Exist?

Urijah Faber keeps the look alive…

UF

(Props: CombatLifestyle via BloodyElbow)

Read More DIGG THIS

UFC 81: Party Time!

JS
(It’s his party, and he’ll cry if he wants to!)

The usual UFC event parties hosted by fighters are being planned, one for tonight and another for Saturday when UFC 81 blows up in Vegas. Of course, you actually have to be in Vegas to join in the merriment.

Joe Daddy Stevenson – who fought at UFC 80, losing to BJ Penn – will be the man of the hour this evening at TAO, which is in the Venetian. On Da Strip, no less. It is open to the public and Joe Daddy will be there signing autographs with his blood and posing for pics starting at 10 p.m. (PST). Luckily, you’ll have two days to get rid of the hangover before the next par-tee.

On Saturday, Frank Mir will host a post UFC 81 party at Rum Jungle, which is in the Mandalay Bay. How convenient since that is where he will be fighting Brock Lesnar. This will be the party to be at since a lot of fighters and MMA execs usually attend the closest after-party. It’s being sponsored by Xyience Warrior Wear and MMA Warehouse. If you have trouble finding Rum Jungle, just follow the pieces of the penis tattoo that Frank Mir ripped off of Lesnar during the fight.

If trying to find Joe Daddy’s party, follow the blood trail.

Read More DIGG THIS

PWNED!!!!!!!1!

JS
(From ESPN via BloodyElbow)

Holy, freakin’, crap. Looks like we already have a top contender for this year’s “10 Best MMA Photos” list.

By the way, Joe wants you to know that he was totally not crying at the end of that fight.

Read More DIGG THIS

It was Blood, not Tears

Blood Squirt
(Props to Fightlinker for the zoom on Stevenson’s red geyser.)

Joe Stevenson recently chatted with FightHype about his uber-bloody loss (via submission to BJ Penn) at last weekend’s UFC 80. When asked how he thought he did, Joe Daddy had this to say:

I think I did good. I just got cut. I think it was getting better and better for me and sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.

Or sometimes the bear just kicks your ass. And shame on all of you who thought Joe Daddy was crying like Bob Sapp after the loss. Here’s what he has to say to you:

I saw the tape and it looked like I was crying, but I had something in my eye…my blood (laughing).

I know every time something gets in my eye, I look like an eight-year-old who just witnessed his dog getting hit by a car. Come on! Admit you were crying! We believe you weren’t crying as much as we believe when you said the elbow from BJ “didn’t hurt”.

Regardless if he’s a crier or not, Joe Daddy seems to have gained even more fans and support on the MMA message boards since his showing against “The Prodigy”. Frank Trigg has even said Joe Daddy is the second best lightweight after Penn. Thanks for weighing-in “Twinkle Toes”, you’ve obviously been swimming in bourbon.

Read More DIGG THIS

Fight of the Day: B.J. Penn vs. Lyoto Machida

After moving up to 185 pounds to defeat Rodrigo Gracie at Rumble on the Rock 6, B.J. Penn had a revelation — why don’t I just keep eating? Four months later, he competed in his first and only 205-pound match, facing off against Lyoto Machida at K-1 HERO’s 1 (3/26/05). Machida was only 5-0 at the time, but he had already disposed of Stephan Bonnar and Rich Franklin in his second and third fights, respectively. Though Penn threatened from the top in the first round, he had no answer for Lyoto’s size advantage and defensive skills, and lost the decision. Boring? Sure, maybe a little. But it was a significant moment in the careers of both fighters; Penn would drop back down to welterweight immediately after.

(Fight starts at the 5:10 mark.)

Read More DIGG THIS

Cheap-Ass UFC Releases Miserly Fight Bonuses

Pauls
(Paul Taylor bashes Paul Kelly during their “Fight of the Night.”)

Things are tough all over, I guess. The UFC released its customary bonuses after UFC 80, but each one was only $35,000, a full $20,000 less than the bonuses handed out after UFC 79. This is the first time we can recall that the bonuses actually went down from one event to the next. We knew European expansion was a bitch, financially speaking, but it’s unfortunate that the fighters had to tighten their belts to recoup some of the costs. Anyway, here’s who got the extra cash:

Fight of the Night: Paul Kelly and Paul Taylor. Each Brit got $35k, primarily for the insane brawl that kicked off the first round; after that, it was fairly dull GnP domination from Paul Kelly, who won a unanimous decision.

Knockout of the Night: Wilson Gouveia earned $35k for his out-of-nowhere comeback blast of Jason Lambert.

Submission of the Night: B.J. Penn collected $35k by default for his rear-naked-choke of Joe Stevenson, UFC 80′s only tap-out.

Thus, I went 1-3 in my predictions. And commenter MattyLight owes commenter Olie $5. (Sorry buddy!) Feel free to work out the exchange in the comments section.

Read More DIGG THIS

Bloody Hell, Indeed: UFC 80 Quick Recap

BJJS

MAIN CARD
BJ Penn def. Joe Stevenson via submission (rear-naked choke), 4:02 of round 2
Fabricio Werdum def. Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO (punches), 4:34 of round 2
Marcus Davis def. Jess Liaudin via KO (punch), 1:04 of round 1
Wilson Gouveia def. Jason Lambert via KO (punch), 0:37 of round 2
Jorge Rivera def. Kendall Grove via TKO (punches), 1:20 of round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD
Sam Stout def. Per Eklund via unanimous decision — this was the only untelevised fight
Alessio Sakara def. James Lee via TKO (punches), 1:30 of round 1
Paul Kelly def. Paul Taylor via unanimous decision
Antoni Hardonk def. Colin Robinson via TKO (punch), 0:17 of round 1

Read More DIGG THIS

BLOODY HELL: UFC 80 Round-by-Round Liveblog

PS

I just have to know — CAN, YOU, *FEEEEEEL* IT!!!!!!!(?)

You know how this works. Click the “MORE” link and refresh the page every few minutes to get the latest updates on UFC 80: “Rapid Fire,” which comes to us live from Newcastle, England. All times ET.

This liveblog is brought to you by Negra Modelo and Debbie’s Killer Wings.

Read More DIGG THIS

“Daddy” Wants to Lay Down a Spanking

Joe

On Monday we gave BJ Penn some space on CagePotato. Now it’s time to do the same for Joe “Daddy” Stevenson. Props to MMA on Tap for the bit they did on the fighter today. The posting mentions how Joe Daddy was already a professional fighter by the age of 16. At that age, I was just concentrated on how to lay the seats back in my parents’ station wagon so I could bang my girlfriend. Joe Daddy is poised to fight BJ Penn in England on Saturday for the UFC lightweight crown at UFC 80: Rapid Fire.

The reason the two fighters will be going head-to-head for the title is because Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk got stripped of the title when he was busted for juicing last year. The Muscle Shark will have to try and win his belt back against the winner of Saturday’s fight. Both Penn and Stevenson agree that Sherk should fight the winner of their fight, per their words at the press conference.

More from Stevenson:

“The fight being for a title, it definitely has a lot of meaning behind it,” Stevenson said during a recent interview session. “It’s something that I’ve aspired to have ever since I started watching and following this sport.”

And when the term ‘underdog’ is thrown out in reference to Joe Daddy?

Read More DIGG THIS
CagePotatoMMA