Retired Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Kenny Florian is one of the most knowledgeable figures in mixed martial arts (MMA) today. From his role as a cageside commentator to an analyst on FUEL TV's "UFC Tonight," the 36-year-old is closer to the sport than many, giving him a level of insight few others possess.
One of the most significant events in UFC history went down last Saturday (Feb. 23, 2013) night as UFC 157: "Rousey vs. Carmouche" took place in Anaheim, Calif., and featured the first ever women's UFC bout in the main event of the evening as bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche by first-round submission.
In the co-main event, Lyoto Machida became the No. 1 contender in the light heavyweight division by outscoring Dan Henderson en route to a split decision victory in a fight that did not live up the expectations of many.
With such a significant night of UFC history behind in the rear-view mirror, Florian spoke with Mike Bohn of MMAmania.com to share his reflections on the event itself and the major storylines that came out of it.
Check it out:
Kenny Florian: It was impressive man, you know, Carmouche did exactly what she said she was going to do. She wasn't intimated, she said she was going to take the fight to her and when she had a chance to do it man she really did and I think a lot of fighters would have tapped from that same situation, it's not fun getting your face cranked and that's what Rousey was in and you know, she managed to stay calm, she showed her toughness and came back and still got the win in the first round, which was amazing so I think it was a, you know, it was obviously a historic night for women but they really put women on the map. Again, for a lot of people, they saw -- for a lot of fans out there they saw women fight for the first time and that's exciting, they brought a ton of new fans to the sport and I think consistently women's MMA are delivering every single time.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Do you think it was good for Ronda to face adversity like that? Do you think it will help build her character as a fighter?
Kenny Florian: I think so, just because for those who are kind of new or just kind of heard about Rousey they kind of heard, ‘Oh she finishes everybody in the first round by armbar.' And here she is she did it again, so there's a lot of pressure on her to perform and kind of get the win as the champ coming into this, and you know I thought she performed brilliantly and came away with the win and did it in dramatic fashion so that's never a bad thing.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): How did you score the co-main event between Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson?
Kenny Florian: I thought Machida won man, you know, it wasn't the most exciting of fights but if you play defensively yet you still score more than the other guy, you're going to win that's just the way the sport works. Mayweather doesn't have the most exciting style, but he's hard to hit, has good defense and he'll score more than you and get that win, and I think that's what Machida did and I think in many ways that's kind of what he had to do to take on Dan Henderson. Henderson is way too dangerous to stand in there with him, and Machida had to use his footwork and his speed to get in, get out and do what he had to do and, you know, I'm sure he didn't win any fans that night but he did beat a real tough opponent Dan Henderson and now has a shot at the title so, there you go.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Dana White said after the fight that Machida's performance makes him the No. 1 contender. Do you think that was the kind of win that warrants a title shot?
Kenny Florian: It's a good question. Unfortunately it wasn't the most exciting style of fights, but when you look at Machida's career and what he's done, being a former champion, knocking out guys like Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva, Bader, Randy Couture, you know, Rich Franklin early in his career. All those guys, you know, it's very impressive. He hasn't always been, you know, boring and he certainly gave -- in my opinion was the only guy to win a round against Jon Jones, you know, in the first fight and he's got a style that can really pose problems for anybody in that division, so, I think that it's going to be an interesting fight between him and Jon. I think he can make serious adjustments but, you know, now he's got the number one spot. Gustafsson is the next guy and I think he's very close to that, but I would like to see Gustafsson take another fight just so he can get that much better and we can see that much better of a fight and I think that we do see that in exciting performances and wins from Gustafsson I think it will be a real interesting fight and could be anyone's fight.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com in the coming days for more from this exclusive interview with Florian, such as his thoughts on the recent UFC cuts.