September 18, 2007

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Since his loss to Sean Sherk in October 2006, former Ultimate Fighter Season 1 cast member Kenny “Ken-Flo” Florian has been on a mission to prove he belongs among the best lightweights in the UFC. He will have the chance to continue that quest on Wednesday night when he faces Din Thomas in the main event of the UFC Fight Night event leading into the sixth season of the show of The Ultimate Fighter.

Florian stepped into the main event as a replacement for Thomas’ original opponent, Spencer Fisher, who had to drop out due to a staph infection. The Boston native doesn’t feel concerned about taking the fight on shorter notice and not getting a full training camp in for the bout.

“The only risk you run on taking fights on short notice like this is over-training,” said Florian. “My training is monitored, I feel great, I’m in the best shape of my life, regardless of the short notice and I’m ready to go.”

When he debuted on the Ultimate Fighter, Florian was fighting, incredibly enough, at 185 pounds just for the opportunity to be on the show. Now he has become a force in the 155-pound weight class and he attributes that success to his diet and conditioning routines.

“I’m on my diet pretty much year round,” Florian stated. “I have some cookie binges every once in a while if I’m good. If I go to all of my sessions and eat all of my veggies, every once in a while I get to have some cookies. It’s tough, but if you want to be the best you have to do everything that everyone else isn’t doing. You have to give that extra 2%.

“It kind of makes me angry and makes me want it that much more. You’ve got to stay disciplined year round. I’m on my diet year round. I’m training year round and I’ll be back in the gym 3 or 4 days after the fight.”

After his last fight with Alvin Robinson, which ended with Florian winning by strikes on the ground, he made a statement in his post fight interview with Joe Rogan stating, “I finish fights!” It was an emphatic battle cry after the majority of the card previous to his bout ended with judges’ decisions.

Florian wants no such thing in any of his fights, calling out recent controversial decisions in the UFC as even more of a reason to finish his opponents.

“I always go for the finish, that’s for sure. I can’t promise that I’m going to finish every fight, but I do promise that I’m going to try my best to finish every fight,” Florian said.

“I want a technique to determine the outcome of the fight. I don’t want some judge to say ‘yeah, this guy won, maybe he didn’t.’ We’ve seen controversial decisions in the past. I’m sure you guys have talked about Hamill and Bisping and I don’t want to be that guy and, more importantly, I want to put a show on for the fans and it’s not even in my mentality to play for a judges’ decision.”

Another statement made recently by Florian was the fact that he wasn’t looking for another immediate title shot, but rather a chance to clear out all of the top fighters in the lightweight division to prove he is truly the #1 contender.

“I wasn’t joking after the Alvin Robinson fight that I wanted to take out the best fighters at 155, one by one, and that’s what I want and it starts with Din Thomas,” said a confident Florian.

Din Thomas is a fighter who is never short on words for any of his opponents, but he has stayed relatively quiet leading into the bout with Ken-Flo. Florian decided to take the opportunity to stir the pot instead.

“Din is a dummy head,” said Florian laughing when commenting on the lack of trash talk for the fight. “Din’s a great guy and it’s all business on Wednesday night.”

Business indeed as Kenny Florian is focused and ready for the challenge at hand with Din Thomas at UFC Fight Night.

“I’m hungry to get in there and that taste is in my mouth. I’m drooling and I’m ready to get in there and fight,” stated Florian. “It’s a big fight and Din’s a great fighter. I’m really looking forward to this challenge.”

With two so evenly matched fighters, fans and fighters alike should expect to see a phenomenal match-up between two of the top contenders in the lightweight division.

“If there are some people who don’t know what MMA is or they’ve never seen an MMA fight or a UFC fight before, tell your friends this is the fight you want to see. Din Thomas vs. Kenny Florian,” said Florian about the bout.

“You’re going to see guys who are very well rounded, technical, intelligent fighters; fighters who go in there with a distinct strategy and style and you’re going to see us all over the Octagon on Wednesday night, there’s no doubt about that.”

Florian faces Din Thomas at UFC Fight Night on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.