Kenny Florian’s dedication to always fight the best will be shown when he faces Top 5 ranked featherweight Diego Nunes at UFC 131. If he wins, he believes that’s all the evidence he’ll need to face Jose Aldo next.
When Kenny Florian moved down to the featherweight division it was with two goals in mind.
First he wanted to be the UFC featherweight champion, and second he wanted the chance to face current titleholder Jose Aldo.
Before he can accomplish either of those, Florian first has to get by Aldo’s teammate Diego Nunes on Saturday night in Vancouver.
A 16-1 overall record and a 5-1 record in his time with the WEC, Nunes is a top five ranked featherweight with a lot of skills in his back pocket, yet somehow he’s a huge underdog to Florian coming into their bout at UFC 131.
Florian is one person who understands how good Nunes is and he won’t underestimate what he brings to the table when they meet in the Octagon.
“Diego Nunes, he’s a guy that trains with Jose Aldo, excellent striker, very tough to keep on his back. So I see it as a true, true challenge in my career. One of the toughest of my career. It’s a great opportunity to now get a shot at the belt. This is a guy who’s one of the top in the world,” Florian told MMAWeekly Radio.
While relatively unknown to many in the MMA world, Nunes possesses knockout power and a wide array of submissions. It also doesn’t hurt that he goes punch for punch with UFC featherweight king Jose Aldo in the gym everyday.
“Diego Nunes poses a lot of problems for me. He’s a grinder, he’s a very technical and fast striker, and he’s 16-1, he trains with one of the best teams in the world over at Nova Uniao. There’s a reason why he’s one of the top fighters in the world,” Florian said.
“I have my work cut out for me.”
A student of the game, Florian has never been shy when it comes to asking for help to make sure he gets ready for the next challenge ahead. He still works with his brother Keith at their academy in Boston, but Florian has also branched out to work with coaches like Firas Zahabi and other gyms to make sure he’s 100-percent prepared for this fight.
Florian even brought in famed Muay Thai fighter Cosmo Alexandre to help him polish up his striking as he gets ready to face Nunes this weekend.
Once labeled as a jiu-jitsu fighter, Florian has added striking, wrestling, and other weapons to his arsenal to make sure Nunes or any opponent can’t begin to predict where he’ll be coming from when he attacks.
“I don’t really care how they regard me whether it’s a jiu-jitsu guy, a striker, a wrestler, just hopefully they regard me as one of the best in the world,” said Florian. “I think the key is having as many weapons as possible.”
If Florian brings every weapon in his arsenal to the fight with Nunes on Saturday night, he’s confident he’ll make the kind of debut he’s been hoping for when he dropped to featherweight.
He also knows that if he wins, that’s a victory over a top five featherweight, and then he wants Jose Aldo next.
“If I beat him, I think with everything I’ve done at 55 and beating a guy like that, I think it sets me up nicely to have my next fight be for the belt.”
Florian may just get his wish, but he first has to get that win over Diego Nunes. He’ll see if he can do that Saturday night in Vancouver.
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