by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
UFC president Dana White announced prior to UFC 91 that the winner between Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson would receive a shot at the 155-pound divisional title currently held by B.J. Penn. With a stunning first round submission win, Florian cemented himself as the No. 1 contender in the division, but with Penn’s move up to 170 pounds for his next fight is the Boston fighter willing to wait for a title shot?
Speaking with MMAWeekly Radio on Monday night, Florian says that he’s already talked with the UFC about what happens next and leaves it in their hands to decide.
“If the UFC makes that decision then that’s what I’m going to do,” Florian said about waiting for his shot at the title. “I’m going to stay busy definitely in the gym. I don’t really know what they have planned. If that’s the way it’s going to go down, I’ll definitely be willing to wait a little bit. It’s going to be tough, but we’ll see.”
Before any decisions are made whether he would take another fight before a title shot, Florian says that he has to wait until at least after Jan. 31 to figure things out.
“At the end of the day, I think that’s what’s going to need to happen. I spoke a little to Dana White about it, so I think that’s what’s probably going to happen,” he commented. “Wait and see what happens with the B.J.-GSP fight.”
Following his impressive win over Stevenson at UFC 91, the former “Ultimate Fighter” season 1 cast member had no problem telling Penn that if he had his choice that would be the next match-up on the docket for him.
Famous for his post fight comments, Florian clarified what he said directly to Penn that night just after the win that gave him No. 1 contender’s status.
“As a kid I always loved watching martial arts movies and I always wanted to be that ronin going around, traveling and training with the different masters and showing that you are the true master. In order to do that you had to beat the other masters, you had to beat the best masters in the land, and B.J.’s one of those guys. That’s the way I see it,” Florian said.
“I like B.J. I definitely didn’t want to do it in a disrespectful manner cause I have so much respect for the kid. He’s such an awesome fighter, great kid. He’s one of those guys to look up to.”
Until Jan. 31 Florian will play the waiting game, but with so many unanswered questions surrounding Penn’s future after that fight, he also has no problem settling a few other scores.
“Sean Sherk, that’s a fight I would love to take,” stated Florian. “That fight is one of the ones I really want to show everyone how far I’ve come. My wrestling’s a lot better than that and I’m going to continue to get better at it. There’s still so much for me to learn, there’s so much for me to improve on, and I’m going to do it.”
The first time Florian met Sherk he lost a unanimous decision and the lightweight title that was on the line that night. That loss sent Florian on the path he continues on today.
“I would love to fight Sean Sherk again. I think he’s a phenomenal fighter, definitely think he’s a Top 10 fighter, no doubt about it, and I’ve got to thank him,” said Florian. “He’s the one that really got me to step up my game, really commit myself as a fighter and as an athlete.
“This one would be ten times better and I believe with a different result.”