by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Just days after UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn announced his intentions to defend his title in August, top contender Kenny Florian has done the same, saying that he has signed a bout agreement to fight for the title in Philadelphia at UFC 101.
“I am happy to announce that I will be fighting B.J. Penn on Aug. 8 in Philadelphia at UFC 101 for the UFC Lightweight title,” Florian said via his personal newsletter. “I signed the fight contract over the weekend.”
This will be Florian’s second shot at UFC gold. His first chance came in October 2007 in a loss to former champion Sean Sherk, when the UFC re-initiated the lightweight title after doing away with the division for a few years.
Now on a six-fight win streak, including victories over top contenders like Joe Stevenson and Roger Huerta, Florian will look to keep the momentum going with a win over the 155-pound champion.
“It’s going to be my first time fighting on the East Coast for the UFC and I will be training hard to represent my ‘Beast Coast’ fans,” Florian stated. “My training camp will begin in June and then it will be full steam ahead till August.”
The Boston native will work with head coach Mark DellaGrotte and his team at Sityodtong, as well as heading to Canada to work with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, to prepare for the bout.
The message also confirms recent rumors that UFC 101 will indeed take place in Philadelphia, which as been speculated for weeks. The state of Pennsylvania took steps to official sanction MMA in February, and in March, UFC President Dana White said the promotion would head to Philadelphia before the end of 2009.
Penn vs. Florian will headline UFC 101, likely to take place at the Wachovia Center, with a featured undercard light heavyweight match-up between Forrest Griffin and Thiago Silva.