After a knee injury sidelined UFC lightweight Kenny Florian for his bout at the UFC Fight for the Troops show on Jan. 22, the Boston native is almost ready to head back into the gym and looking to return in mid-2011.
Florian mentioned when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio prior to UFC 125 that he was hoping for a early summer return. After a meeting with his doctors, it appears that timeline is on track or even ahead of schedule.
“Kenny’s doing really, really well. He’s ahead of schedule. He’s looking forward to getting back,” said Malki Kawa, Florian’s manager, in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio.
“He’s just boxing at this point. He really can’t do anything else with his leg. They haven’t cleared him yet to do any grappling or any real kicking or anything yet. But the fact that he’s doing that now at this point, he’s really ahead of schedule.”
Florian was seen around UFC 125 wearing a protective knee brace, and while he’s still got some work to do, the news so far has all been positive.
“From what I understand from his doctors and his therapists, he should be back to full fledged training by I want to say first week of February, second week of February,” Kawa explained.
If Florian is able to get back to full training in that timeline, he is eyeing two particular shows for his return to the Octagon. UFC 130 is expected to take place in late May, while UFC 131 is rumored for Vancouver in June.
“The May fight card kind of works perfect because it’s at the very end of May, so if he gets back in February and then starts a camp in the middle of March, that still gives him about a 10-week camp. The date kind of works well, but if for whatever reason the UFC doesn’t have a spot open for him on that card in May then we’re looking hopefully at him returning in June,” Kawa explained.
One fight in particular that interests Florian for his return bout is a fight against Anthony Pettis. The final WEC lightweight champion has stated he plans fighting again before looking to challenge for the UFC lightweight title.
Rumors have persisted that Pettis may end up facing Clay Guida, but sources have indicated to MMAWeekly.com that while that fight could happen, nothing is set in stone at this point.
If there is a change in the fight, Florian and his manager hope it’s his name that gets pulled.
“I know that nine out of 10 times Joe Silva and the UFC do not like to put a guy coming off a loss against a guy coming off a win, and I totally understand and agree with that thought process, but in this situation where you’ve got a guy who’s fighting for that No. 1 position, that No. 2 or 3 guy is who he should be fighting,” said Kawa. “If I had my way, I think Kenny Florian should be fighting him, and I think that would be a really cool match.”
If it’s not Pettis, there is a long list of potential fights for the former title contender. Next weekend’s main event between Evan Dunham and Melvin Guillard could produce an opponent, as well as several other lightweights including former champion Sean Sherk.
MMAWeekly.com will continue to follow the situation and update when Florian’s next opponent has been chosen.