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Kenny Florian: It will be difficult to sell a fight between two guys coming from WEC

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And that could be why he's on the fast track to a title shot, if he defeats Diego Nunes at UFC 131 on June 11 in Vancouver, of course.

Kenny Florian, former middleweight, welterweight and lightweight, thinks he just may be exactly what the promoter ordered to inject some life -- and drive interest -- in the UFC featherweight division.

It's been just five months since the world's elite mixed martial arts organization merged with its little sister promotion, WEC. Hardly enough time to see a return on any investment but "KenFlo" seems to think the state of the transferred featherweight division is dire.

That's not due to lack of talent but rather lack of exposure.

Part of the way to get these elite 145-pound scrappers in front of larger audiences is to put them in big fights against established names, something made easier now that such lightweight stalwarts as Tyson Griffin and Joe Stevenson have made the drop down.

But is that reason enough to get behind these UFC vets and push, simply on the strength of their increased marketability?

Florian thinks so and goes so far as to tell Sherdog.com there is only one man who came over from WEC in the merger that could "sell some pay-per-views."

"I think that if you look at what I've done at 155 and what I've done in my career, you know, bringing the skills and experience that I have at 155, that I've done at 155 and bringing it to 145, you know... beating a guy that's top five in the world; yeah, I think that puts me in line for a shot right away. Who knows? We'll see. I think it definitely does. The other guy who is up there is Chad Mendes. Other than that, I don't see anyone else. It all depends on what the UFC wants to do and what the schedule is. Another factor is putting together a fight that people want to see, putting together a marketable fight. The reality is, a lot of people still don't know who the WEC guys are. I get it all the time. 'Who are you fighting next, Kenny?' Well, some regular guy on the street, I'm fighting Jose Aldo, er, I'm fighting Diego Nunes. They have no idea who Diego Nunes is. 'Alright, well who has the belt at 145?' Jose Aldo. They have no idea who Jose Aldo is. It's crazy to me, these are phenomenal fighters and people don't know who they are but with myself going to the division, Tyson Griffin, Joe Stevenson, it brings bigger names to the division and it brings more marketable fights that people want to see. People recognize these names. If you want to sell a fight between two guys coming up from the WEC, it's going to be very difficult to do that. I think Urijah Faber might be the only guy who might be able to sell some pay-per-views right now."

That's an intriguing theory and rather difficult to argue against.

After all, how many casual MMA fans could name more than a fighter or two from both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions? Probably not many.

That's a shame when considering the abundance of talent in those weight classes; guys like Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and Diego Nunes.

Now that Florian, Griffin and Stevenson have decided to make the cut down to 145-pounds, with more to follow, will the division see an immediate boost in interest? Or will the little guys continue to struggle for acceptance on the big stage?

For that matter, does Florian deserve more consideration for a title shot simply because of his name value? Or is he severely overestimating his star power?

Sound off, Maniacs.