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Able and ready: Kenny Florian UFC 91 interview exclusive with

kenny florian interview

Kenny Florian was widely regarded as the clear cut number one contender in the crowded 155-pound division following his win over Roger Huerta via unanimous decision at UFC 87: "Seek and Destroy" on August 9.

But his second chance at championship gold never came.

That’s because current lightweight champion, BJ Penn, will rematch welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94: "St. Pierre vs. Penn 2" at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 31, 2009, putting the division strap temporarily on ice.

Rather than sitting on the sidelines and waiting his turn, Florian decided to keep busy. And he isn’t taking fights with "slouches" or "cans" to ensure that he remains atop the title contender totem pole.

On the contrary, he accepted a very dangerous fight against Joe Stevenson at UFC 91: "Couture vs. Lesnar" at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on November 15. It’s a high profile bout between two fighters who have each missed out on winning the vacant division title.

"I will be fighting Joe Stevenson," Florian recently told MMAmania in an exclusive interview. "I’m really excited. Joe Stevenson is a phenomenal opponent -- very dangerous opponent -- one of the best in the world out there as a lightweight."

Indeed, Stevenson turned professional at the tender age of 16. Since that time he has racked up an impressive record (29-8), ensuring that he has the experience advantage over just about all of his opponents at just 26 years old.

And that includes Florian, who is older (32), but has nowhere near the amount of fights (10-3) as "Daddy." That’s a reality that is not lost on Boston area native. He views Stevenson as a worthy opponent who is standing between him and his ultimate career goal of one day being champion.

"He is in my way of advancing up the ladder even more," Florian said. "I want to fight the best guys. Joe Stevenson is not only a nice guy and a very experienced opponent, he is one of the best out there and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I know I’m going to have my hands full."

Florian knows that extreme dedication and a whole lot of hard work is the life of a fighter -- it’s also the recipe for success in a sport the demands it. Accordingly, he trains at his own gym in Brookline, Mass., Florian Martial Arts Center, which he owns with his brother, Keith. In addition, Florian trains at F-15 Training Center with Peter Welch his boxing coach. His Muay Thai and MMA Coach is Mark DellaGrotte.

"I couldn’t ask for a better training camp or better training over all," Florian said.

Training, fighting and running a gym keep Kenny more busy than he could imagine. But that’s not all. He is also a fixture as a panelist on’s hit weekly program, "MMA Live."

"I am actually on my way home from ESPN right now," Florian explained during our interview. "I was in Connecticut filming ‘MMA Live,’ which is a show we do every week on It’s a great show. It’s great to have the World Wide Leader in Sports covering mixed martial arts the way that they have."

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that ESPN intends to devote extra coverage this weekend to UFC 91, providing live broadcasts from Las Vegas before, during and after the blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) event. Florian, however, will be a little busy preparing for his showdown inside the Octagon this fight week and more than likely unable to contribute his witty brand of expert commentary on the ESPN set.

"I train six days a week, two times a day," he says about his preparation. "Whether I’m training for a fight or not I’m always training six days a week two times every single day. It’s not crazy all the time, but its consistent training all the time. I think that is the key for me to be able to improve and get better and to learn new things, also to consistently get better with your conditioning and technical skills. So there is no offseason for me."

Spoken like a true fighter. One who is not solely focused on his own wins and losses, but rather the growth of the sport and helping reach new fans.

"The fighting and training, I really do love the most," he said. "I also love teaching and analyzing fights. I’ve been really blessed, I think, in my life and in my career at this point. I feel like everything I do I truly enjoy, I’m truly passionate about, and it all revolves around mixed martial arts. Something that really moves me, every day I wake up with a smile on my face. I think it’s a gift any time you can love what you do for work. I truly consider it a gift."

A gift that we all get to watch him unwrap on November 15.

If you would like to hear the audio from this interview check out the homepage on for "Kenny Previews his UFC 91 Fight Against Stevenson." Simply click the link.

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