by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Rumors started flying on Monday that highly regarded lightweight fighter Kenny Florian declined a fight with Sean Sherk for the vacant UFC Lightweight Title. Florian spoke with MMAWeekly and shot down any accusations that he doesn’t want to fight Sean Sherk or that he turned away from a potential title shot.
“No, not at all,” said Florian regarding the rumors that he turned down the fight with Sherk. “I would absolutely fight Sean Sherk, but the UFC wanted to push for the August show, and I just came out of training from my last fight, and I don’t want to push myself into another fight with only three weeks to prepare for a guy like Sean Sherk.”
Regarding the specific timing, Florian said, “The UFC said I was fighting Sherk, and I accepted, but they said in October or November… then, all of a sudden, they pushed for the August show. I’m leaving for Brazil for two weeks to train pretty soon and just don’t have the time that I need to prepare for that fight. Sherk’s been on the sidelines waiting and training for a fight, and I just got done with my fight [against Sam Stout] and was in training for that for seven or eight months.
Florian is also still recovering from a nagging back injury, which kept him out of his originally scheduled fight with Sam Stout in March. On the June 24th Ultimate Finale broadcast on Spike TV, Florian vs. Stout finally took place, and Florian won by submission in just under two minutes.
Florian, who was a finalist on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, stands by his assertion that he welcomes the challenge of fighting anyone in the 155-pound division. “I’ll fight anyone at 155 pounds,” said Florian. “If Fedor [Emelianenko] can drop to 155 pounds, I’ll fight him. Just give me ample time to prepare for it!”
It’s not known at this time why the UFC pushed the title bout up almost three months from its originally scheduled date. It is unknown whether the UFC will now rush to find a replacement for Florian to go against Sherk for the vacant Lightweight Title at UFC 62 on August 26th.