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, was set to 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, putting the division strap temporarily on ice.
Rather than sitting on the sidelines and waiting his turn, Florian decided to keep busy. And he wasn’t taking fights with "slouches" or "cans" to ensure that he remained 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 back on November 15. It was high profile bout between two fighters who have each missed out on winning the vacant division title.
Florian dominated "Daddy" in the first round, finishing the former TUF 2 winner via rear naked choke for his sixth straight win. Aside from his unanimous decision loss to Sean Sherk at UFC 64 ‘Unstoppable,’ Florian hasn’t tasted defeat since being overwhelmed by Diego Sanchez at the TUF 1 finale in April of 2005.
Now that UFC 94 is in the books, Penn is (hopefully) set to defend his title against the Boston native at UFC 101 on August 8 from the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania according to BJ PENN.com.
Here's a snip:
"(Penn) has not been down to lightweight to defend his title since UFC 84, in May of 2008, when he beat Sean Sherk via TKO at the end of the third round. When I asked BJ about the upcoming bout he simply said, 'I look forward to the challenge.' According to our sources here within Team Penn, Florian has already signed the bout agreement for this fight. As for BJ, we received the bout agreement this afternoon and plan on making this fight happen."
Florian is based out of 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.
This one is gonna be a war.
UFC 101 is expected to feature a major title fight, as well as a co-main event between former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy "The Natural" Couture as he locks horns with former UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira. Additionally, Thiago Silva and ex-205-pound kingpin Forrest Griffin are also expected to hook ‘em up.
For more on UFC 101 click here.