The co-main event of UFC 136: "Edgar vs. Maynard 3" tonight (Oct. 8, 2011) in Houston featured a featherweight championship fight between titleholder Jose Aldo and longtime bridesmaid but never a bride, Kenny Florian.
This was widely regarded as the last chance for the 35-year-old "Ken Flo" to attain his goal of wearing a major championship belt before leaving the fight game.
It was a tall order to take on a pound-for-pound stalwart like "Scarface" in order to achieve such a goal but no one ever achieved greatness by doing something that comes easy.
Unfortunately for Florian, Aldo proved to high a mountain to climb, a challenge to difficult to overcome. Is this the end of the line for the former Ultimate Fighter contestant?
Who knows. But it's likely the last time he'll ever challenge for a title in the UFC.
Every fight starts standing and with Aldo's natural speed and deceptive power, he took the early edge by landing strikes and surprising Florian with his quickness.
But good old American wrestling has saved many a fighter and that's what the Massachusetts native used to try to even things back up. His timing was there and he earned a takedown, as well as taking "Junior's" back.
Florian continued to use his reach advantage and a great game plan to keep Aldo at bay, working hard to keep pace with his feisty foe.
It was close ... too close.
Unfortunately for Florian, Aldo began finding his rhythm in that second frame, finding his own timing and figuring out distance and range.
And using his leg kicks.
The third round was contested almost exclusively on the ground, with "Scarface" gaining superior position and never quite giving it up, save for letting Florian to his feet with around 30 seconds remaining.
Then, the championship rounds.
Aldo's corner told him to use his leg kicks more because, in theory, it would end the fight. After all, it took just two kicks in the second round to back Florian up and get him thinking about them.
"Ken Flo" went back to the clinch game, looking for a takedown and doing his best to tire Aldo out. It seemed to work, as Aldo visibly took multiple deep breaths.
But would it be enough for Florian to steal the fight in the fifth and final round?
It would not. And so, Kenny Florian, after three failed attempts at earning a major championship in the UFC, will likely go down in history as the greatest fighter to never win the big one.
Whether that's a fair characterization or not.