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Q&A with Kenny Florian

With UFC 101 on the horizon, Florian answers fan questions

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Sam Morris

Kenny Florian unleashes on Joe Stevenson during their lightweight bout at UFC 91 on November 15, 2008 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Florian won by submission in the first round. Florian will face UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn with his belt on the line at UFC 101 in Philadelphia.

Kenny Florian was the guest of honor for the UFC 100 Q&A session for Fight Club members.

Highlights included UFC super-fan Lisa from Hawaii asking Florian if he’d be willing to make a dream come true and have her in his corner for his upcoming lightweight championship fight with B.J. Penn in Philadelphia on Aug. 8.

Unfortunately for her, Florian said he didn’t think he’d be able to make it happen.

“That would be amazing, that would be some serious energy,” he said. “If I could I would absolutely do it, but I think my trainers would be mad at me.”

In case you missed it, here are the other highlights from the hour-long Q&A.

Q. Where are you on your training, are you starting to bring it down now?

A. I’ll probably start training in a couple weeks. I guess it’s kind of a big fight. [Laughing]. No, I’ve been training hard for the past couple months. I’ve still got a few more hard weeks of training then I’ll start to taper down, but it’s been going amazing.

Q. You’ve been over to Hawaii and trained with B.J. Penn so there really is no animosity in this fight, if anything, it’s two guys who have helped each other out before, right?

A. Maybe. I think things changed a little bit when he went and helped train Joe Lauzon (who fought Florian in April). I take these things personally - when someone decides to train someone that’s going to fight you. If someone had come to me and said, ‘Hey, can you help me train to fight B.J.?’ I would have said no. He decided to do that and that’s his decision.

Q. You work at the ESPN offices with MMA Live. What do you think of the other shows like "Pardon the Interruption" and "Around the Horn" never really talk about the UFC and if they do, it’s usually negative?

A. It’s still in the early stages. Being a part of MMA Live, we do a great job of showing the great sides of the sport. The fact we have a show for MMA is a great start and hopefully we’ll continue to change that perception every time.

Q. What is your opinion of the 10-point must system used to score the UFC?

A. It’s tough, that’s a good question. As of right now it’s kind of the best solution. Trying to come up with something else, it’s tough to come up with something else in my mind. Right now it’s the best we’ve got and we’ve just to go with it. No matter what, there’s always going to be controversy it’s very tough.

Q. What are your top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world?

A. Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, Fedor Emelianenko, Lyoto Machida – those are the top four. No. 5? No, not me. I’m not there yet.

Q. Who was your toughest competition to date and what did you take from it that helped you become the No. 1 contender?

A. Probably Sean Sherk. He was very tough. I have to credit that loss for where I am today. That really pushed me to take my training to the highest levels and push the envelope. You see your faults and that was one of those fights where you have to be honest with yourself and see all the mistakes you’ve been making. I think I’ve made the proper steps to try and improve as much as possible since then.

Q. With the possibility of a rematch with Diego Sanchez (who beat Florian in the finale of the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter") in the future, how would you see it going?

A. From a technical perspective I still think he has some weaknesses. I’ve improved a lot since our last fight. I didn’t really have a lot of skills to speak of back then on "The Ultimate Fighter." More than anything else in that first fight I just cracked mentally, I was a nervous wreck, just failed on that level. I think I’m a much different fighter. I would love to fight him again. I think he’s doing a lot of talking and talking his way into a possible title fight. Any time you get a chance at a rematch if you got a loss is a good thing so hopefully that will happen.

Q. What are your thoughts on B.J.’s last fight with the greasing controversy?

A. I still think B.J. is the best fighter at 155 until proven otherwise. But he’s not the best at 170. Georges St. Pierre has proven he’s the best at 170. Facing a guy like that, like Georges, whose technical level is as good as anyone out there and then giving up that weight, nine out of 10 times the heavier guy should win.

Q. What do you think the life expectancy is of a fighter?

A. I think it all depends on your style of fighting. Guys who have a brawling type of style, who will take 10 shots to give one, it will certainly take its toll. We don’t know specifically how much punishment a fighter can take. There are certain guys who can take more because of the way their body is built. Myself, I always try to do the damage instead of take the damage and I think that’s the best way. Never use your chin as an offensive weapon, make sure your defensive is solid.

Q. If you do win the belt, is there anybody in the division behind you who you’d look forward to facing?

A. There’s so many great fighters at 155 but definitely Diego Sanchez is the guy I would look forward most to.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at [email protected].

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