September 30, 2010

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com Following a loss to Gray Maynard at UFC 118 in his hometown of Boston, Kenny Florian was beyond motivated to get back in the cage as soon as possible. He was so motivated that he returned to the gym the following Monday to get back on track and wash the taste of the loss out of his mouth.

Florian heard all the talk about the lack of his wrestling game, so he immediately started training to improve and come back a better fighter. With that mindset, Florian wasn’t focused on time off; he was focused on getting back in the Octagon.

Working to get back to the Octagon sooner rather than later, Florian spoke to his agent, Malki Kawa, and the team started to prepare his return, but in doing so he ended up with a slight injury.

“Kenny, after he finished the fight, was so upset with the loss, and realized the wrestling was something he just needed to really concentrate on, he went back to training the very next Monday,” Kawa told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “He didn’t take a day off. In doing so, he slightly pulled his hamstring.”

With fight cards filling up several months in advance, Kawa put the call in to the UFC to get Florian back in the cage, but when the opportunity arose to face B.J. Penn in November, they realized that may have been just a little too soon.

“I had texted (UFC president) Dana White letting him know we want to take a fight, we want to get back in there as soon as possible,” Kawa commented. “What ended up happening, Dana said, ‘well perfect, how about Nov. 20 against B.J. Penn?’ and I didn’t expect them to do November. I thought for sure we were looking at January, maybe early December return.”

The concern was compounded from the slight hamstring injury to the fact that following his last fight, Florian would likely not have time for a full eight-week camp to prepare for the former UFC lightweight champion, and a fighter he battled in August 2009.

The fight never came together, and Penn instead will remain on the card and face Matt Hughes, while Florian continues to work in the gym.

The Boston native recently took a trip to Peru to work with kids and do some seminars in the area, and now back home, he’s eyeing an early 2011 return to the UFC.

“What we’re hoping for is for a January return,” said Kawa. “That’s what we’re targeting, that’s what we’re hoping for. We don’t have an opponent; we don’t have one on the horizon. That’s a conversation we’ll have with Joe Silva, and we’ll figure out a list of names and who we can fight and when.”

The list of potential opponents for Florian will come together soon enough with the lightweight division chock full of top talent. Names like Jim Miller, Evan Dunham, and Sean Sherk, could fall into place as Florian’s next opponent, although the UFC hasn’t made any decisions at this point.

MMAWeekly.com will have more information on Florian’s return as it becomes available.