Kenny Florian eager to make lightweight return in 2012, eyes one more run at UFC gold

Photo of Kenny Florian via MMAconvert.com.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Kenny Florian has amassed an impressive 12-5 record during his six-year tenure with the per-eminent mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world. And even though Florian has defeated several of the best fighters inside the Octagon, there has been more attention given to those four losses on his record than all of his wins.

Well, three in particular.

Much has been made about Florian's failure to win the UFC gold in his three attempts, losing to Sean Sherk at UFC 64 in 2006 and B.J. Penn at UFC 101 in 2009, also at lightweight. His most recent attempt was at UFC 136 on Oct. 8, 2011, against Jose Aldo at featherweight. Florian came up short yet again as the judges awarded "Scarface" a unanimous decision victory.

From middleweight to featherweight, Florian has gone as far as dropping 40 pounds, spanning four weight classes, in the quest to capture the ever elusive UFC title. Yet after 17 fights, including the three aforementioned title fights, under the UFC umbrella, the Bostonian still isn't ready to call it a day just yet.

Speaking to BleacherReport.com, "Ken-Flo" says despite past failed attempts, he is ready to get back on the hunt for UFC gold, as well as shed light on the toll his body has taken because of the drastic weight cuts.

Check it out:

"Dropping to the featherweight division was way too much for my body to handle. The Diego Nunes fight was the worst I've ever felt on a weigh-in day. Luckily, I felt better on fight day and was able to pull out a victory. But, against Aldo it was a brutal weight cut, and I really didn't feel too great heading into the fight. In result, I had some medical issues I had to deal with. I had a thyroid issue that was based on the drastic weight loss. Those are the things you kind of ignore as a fighter, but it became very real to me after the fight. I'll now be moving and staying at lightweight. I feel that I have all the skills to get it done. I've had different issues over the course of my career, but I'm capable of doing it. It's just going out there and getting it done. I have some injuries I'm going to let heal for the next two months. Once those things clear up, I'm looking forward to getting back on the race to the title. I'm hoping it would be a well-respected, top guy in the lightweight division. But, right now I don't have anyone in mind. I have a back injury that I'm letting heal up. As soon as that's cleared, I'll start talking to the UFC about possible opponents. I think my career has a few more great years and fights left."

When not splitting opponents foreheads wide open with his vicious "hellbows," Florian has moonlighted as co-host for ESPN's "MMA Live," which is a career that is seemingly waiting in in the wings once he does walk away from competing in the sport:

"I definitely want to go into broadcasting one day. I do a lot of it already. I really enjoy doing it because it's a great way of being a part of the sport. That will eventually be my career, along with some coaching, and I'll continue to run my gym in Boston."

Ready to get back into action, Florian will find himself right smack in the middle of a pool full of sharks that is the UFC lightweight division.

With Ben Henderson getting next shot at Frankie Edgar at UFC 144 in Japan on Feb. 26, 2012, there are plenty of qualified challengers waiting their turns to become the promotion's next 155-pound kingpin. In a bout that could have title implications, Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon are also set to square off at UFC 144, while Donald Cerrone has definitely made a case for himself as a top lightweight contender with his impressive 2011 year. A win over Nate Diaz at UFC 141 on Dec. 30, 2011 could put him at the doorstep of a title shot.

Wannabe matchmakers, make us a match: who do you think should welcome "Ken-Flo" back to the world famous Octagon once he returns in 2012? And does he have enough fight left in him to make one final run at UFC gold?

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