by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Even in victory it’s the great fighters in MMA who are always humble and never believe they’ve reached the pinnacle. That was the attitude of Georges St-Pierre after defeating Dan Hardy at UFC 111, and Kenny Florian displayed much the same attitude coming off of a dominant win over former Pride champion Takanori Gomi at UFC Fight Night 21 on Wednesday.
The fight was always in Florian’s control, from the stand-up to the ground game, but the Massachusetts fighter remained grounded, realizing that he still hasn’t reached the finish line.
“I know I still have a lot to work on, we’re slowly changing things around, re-positioning some pieces, and slowly changing my style to be able to complete with the elite of the elite,” Florian said. “Not to be one of the best, but to be the best.”
The championship gold has eluded him through two title fights thus far, but he doesn’t let that discourage him. He uses the setbacks as motivation, and the former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor still has his eyes on the prize.
“I still want to be a champion,” said Florian. “The first time around I was still very young in my career, and I just see every fight like a building block. At the end of the day I’m just trying to be the best fighter I can be.”
The most logical fight coming up for Florian is a battle against Gray Maynard, who is waiting in the wings, and had previously asked to face the winner of the fight from Wednesday’s main event.
“I know Gray Maynard said he wanted to get the winner of this fight. He’s a tremendous competitor, and the champion’s still out there, B.J. Penn,” Florian said when asked what’s next for him.
Responding by text message to MMAWeekly.com on Thursday when asked if an August showdown with Florian in Boston would work for him, Maynard simply answered, “Love it!”
All signs point to a lightweight battle between Florian and Maynard later this year, and if B.J. Penn decides to leave the division and his belt behind, could the gold be on the line as well? Only time will tell if that could come true as well.
Of course, Penn has another challenge on the horizon as well. He defends against Frankie Edgar at UFC 112 on April 10 in Abu Dhabi.