Current co-host of FUEL TV's 'UFC Tonight' and former UFC fighter, Kenny Florian (R), was honored during a segment on the show where his friends and family helped to celebrate his eight-plus year MMA career.
It was a great run while it lasted.
In a mixed martial arts (MMA) career that spanned from 2003 to 2011, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Kenny Florian created some fond memories, some very loyal fans and some fantastic fights in several different weight classes.
"Ken Flo" announced last week that after being out of action since is last fight versus UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at UFC 136 on Oct. 8, 2011 in Houston, Texas, he would be officially hanging up the eight ounce gloves and exchanging it for a microphone and a press pass.
FUEL TV decided to honor Florian and his career during a segment of "UFC Tonight," for which Florian now acts as the co-host with Todd Harris.
It was a touching moment that included a farewell speech from Florian, as well as a very cool tribute video that FUEL TV put together, including video clips from some of the many people Florian has impacted during his time in the sport.
Follow me after the jump to check out Florian's speech, as well as the "UFC Tonight" tribute video:
Before Florian got into his words of farewell, he talked about what led him to the decision to call it quits, once and for all:
"Well, you know, it was pretty much my back injury. I wasn't able to really do what I was doing before, as far as my training. I tried several times to get back to doing what I was doing, and I just really wasn't able to. I never felt 100-percent. I've always given 100-percent in my training, so I knew that it wasn't going to be possible to continue fighting."
According to Florian, it was a tough decision, but one that he has had time to make his peace with. Plus, it doesn't hurt that FUEL TV and the UFC are making his transition out of the cage a smooth one:
"Yeah, you know, it has. I've had several months to think about it, and I'm pretty comfortable with the decision. Thankfully, I have things going on here, with FUEL and the folks over at the UFC, to continue being a part of this great sport."
And last of all, here was Florian's final ode to the fans, friends and fellow fighters who helped him get as far as he did in MMA:
"I'm just very, very thankful to all my fans, over the years. From Boston to Peru to all over the world, and all the fans that have supported me, and had those kind messages for me on Twitter -- Thank you guys. I got into this sport, a long time ago. I saw this skinny Brazilian guy, Royce Gracie, dismantle his opponents in the UFC. That really is what inspired me to train. I had a near death experience when I was training in Brazil, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), that inspired me, really, to follow my passion. You only have one life, and I'm very glad that I was a part of this sport and had such a great run here in the UFC. I'm very thankful to all my coaches, my brother Keith, Firas Zahabi, and everyone I've worked with over the years. Literally everyone I've trained with has taught me something, so it's hard to thank everybody."
Here's the video montage, which features appearances from UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, play-by-play commentator Mike Goldberg, Light Heavyweight fighter Rashad Evans, Florian's coaches and even a surprise appearance from his parents:
For "KenFlo's" official retirement announcement click here.