Here it is, folks: our Kenny Florian interview. I’d like to thank everyone who submitted questions, and of course Kenny for taking the time to answer them. Without further ado, let’s get into this thing:
First off, how does it feel to be able to eat solid foods again? And how was the weight cut overall?
(Laughs) It feels good. The weight cut was very tough. Very intense. It’s one thing to cut weight physically – but the mental discipline to eat well for months is hard. It really tests what you can do. It took me to a new level in terms of what my body and mind can do.
Was there ever a time you thought ‘I’m not going to make this weight’?
I knew I would make the weight. It was never an option that I wouldn’t make it because I had no choice. Once I got to the mid to low 60s I knew I was going to be ok.
What did you weigh when you got into the cage that night?
I got into the cage on fight night at 166 – maybe even 167 pounds. I was actually the same weight for when I would fight at 155 pounds.
What was the hardest food you had to give up in order to make the cut to featherweight? Do you get a diet break now that your fight is over or is it something that stays in place all the time?
I am actually eating clean already. Back on my diet right now. I want to stay around 168 pounds. I’m at 170 right now, so have a couple of pounds to get down. I want to get my body used to walking around at that weight. Food I missed the most is probably pizza. I wasn’t able to have pizza, no bread, no cheese or anything close to that. So it was very difficult.
Diego Nunes’ coaches were complaining a bit about the legality of your elbows in that fight / some of your elbows being to the back of the head. Any comments on that?
I saw the quote and I think something got crossed up in translation but it was obviously how I was throwing them (the elbows). This is actually something I ask every ref before a fight. What does he consider a legal elbow and what is back of the head. Big John (who was the referee in that fight) is the standard for refereeing and what other referees try to be and we literally went over this for 5 to 10 min in the dressing room before the fight for what he considers legal or not. He is the best in the business and he would have said something if he saw something that was illegal during the fight.
Often times, if a fighter moves his head after they have been hit straight on, they turn their head. This puts their head in danger, so they are putting themselves into danger by moving their own head. I don’t know if they are making excuses for the loss and I hope they aren’t. I know that Diego was holding the fence half a dozen times during the fight and I know for a fact that is illegal as he was warned numerous times during the fight.
As a fighter does it make you a little upset when you hear things like that? That they are trying to pump their guy up or take something away from your win?
Guys want to make themselves feel better and sometimes it can be hard and sometimes you search for those things to make you feel better. When I look back at my losses, each one the other fighters was better than night and they beat me. We both go through the same rules, the same camp, the same injuries and it’s up to the guys who get into the cage to fight and make it happen.
After your last fight Dana said you were ‘probably’ next in line for a featherweight title shot. I know Jose Aldo said he’s preparing as if you’re next. Are you preparing as if Aldo is next for you?
I hope so. That’s what’s in my mind. That is who I picture my next fight against. I hope that’s the next fight as he is a great champion and a huge challenge for me. Biggest of my career and I hope that’s the fight they put together.
Mark Hominick said during an interview with us that he ‘feels bad for Chad Mendes, since he is truly deserving of the title shot.’ What do you think about the Chad Mendes situation and the situation of the entire 145 lbs division.
Chad had his opportunity to face Aldo and he decided to take a fight before that. As a fighter, I don’t make the fights. I’m not taking fights from anyone. I go in and fight when I’m asked against the guy they put in there. Marketing wise, it’s a better fight. Mendes will reap the rewards from waiting and winning as well, as more people will know who he is. In this sport it’s one thing to win fights and another to sell fights. He is an excellent fighter and after he fights Rani Yahya and if he wins, he will be the next one anyway. I had to fight 6 fights at 155 pounds before I got a shot. Sometimes it is early for a fighter and sometimes it is late. I don’t even know if I’m the next guy yet.
To clarify, what fight did Mendes decide to take over Aldo?
Mendes and Aldo were scheduled to fight in Philly. Aldo wanted more time and wanted to wait a couple of months and he was given more time to prepare. Instead of waiting for him, Mendes wanted to fight so they scheduled him a fight vs Rani Yahya.
With the opportunities out there for you in broadcasting do you think it could play a factor in when you decide to end your fighting career? or is it another one of those “As long as my body holds up / I still have the passion” things?
Oh yeah. I still go on passion. I don’t have to fight at this point. I have the gym. I have the ESPN job. As long as my body is feeling good I will continue to fight, because it’s what I love.
Does it annoy you when people accuse you of dropping down in weight classes just to get more title shots?
It does yeah. People don’t use common sense when they think about this and the history of the sport. I had an opportunity to be on The Ultimate Fighter at middleweight despite being a chubby 175 pounder. I was never even 180 pounds when I fought on the show. People keep saying you keep dropping down, but I was never 185 or even 170. The other reason I fought at welterweight was because the UFC didn’t even have a 155 pound weight class. Dana brought me into the office on the show and said ‘You’re a 155 pound fighter – as soon as we have it, that’s where you will be fighting.’
How’s the academy going? I’ve got a friend who’s looking to get in shape out in MA. Is your academy the place to go or is it designed more with the fighter in mind?
Well, I’m the only pro fighter at the gym. (laughs). Florian Martial Arts is going very well. Our gym is mostly for people looking to get into shape, defend themselves and learn about martial arts. We have guys that are competing in jiu jitsu. So it’s a gym for every level. If we had more pro fighters, we would accommodate that for sure. I’m in the gym every single day training. Mostly training and some teaching.
Now for some rapid fire questions: Toughest opponent?
BJ Penn I would say. Most skilled for sure.
Favourite fight you were in?
I hate all my fights. No favorite. (laughs)
Favourite fight you were not in?
So many great fights to choose from. Pat Berry vs Cheick Kongo maybe. That fight was insane. That is the one that is most fresh in my mind, so I’ll go with that.
Any last words?
Thanks to everyone to reading. You can find me at KennyFlorian.com and on twitter at Twitter.com/kennyflorian and if you’re in the area check out Florian Martial Arts Centre.