Florian Hires Wrestling Coach, Back in 5 Months

By Joe Myers Sep 8, 2010
UFC lightweight Kenny Florian dropped a unanimous decision to Gray Maynard at UFC 118 last month in Boston, costing him an opportunity at a third shot at the 155-pound title. Most fighters would be anxious to get back into action, hoping to dispel the memory of such a tough loss.

However, it may be a little longer than expected before fans see the fighter known as "Ken Flo" back in the Octagon.

"It looks like my training team wants me to fight in another five months," said Florian during an interview Tuesday on the Sherdog Radio Network's "It's Time!" show with Bruce Buffer. "I'm more motivated than ever. I'm pissed, to be honest. I want to crush my training. That's what I'm focused on right now. I just hired the assistant wrestling coach at Boston University (Sean Gray) to be my wrestling coach here in Boston and I have other plans for a lot of other things as far as training goes."

The 34-year-old Florian said he was back training the week after the loss to Maynard and that the setback has motivated him to work even harder in the gym.

"Losses are blessings in disguise," said Florian, who holds wins over Takanori Gomi, Joe Stevenson, Clay Guida, Roger Huerta and Joe Lauzon in his last seven bouts. "I've never been more motivated in my life. I kind of feel like this was one of the most frustrating losses that I've ever had and it was a fight I definitely learned a lot from. I'm very motivated and I had to come back to training quickly. I've already started training and did a hard conditioning session (Tuesday). I'm just motivated to work very hard and get right back into it."

The hiring of Gray by Florian -- who has 12 finishes (three knockouts, nine submissions) among his 13 victories -- was a direct result of Florian's being outwrestled by Maynard, who's had his last seven fights go the distance.

"I kind of figured that's what he would do," Florian said in reference to Maynard's wrestling-first game plan. "Gray's stood up with people before, but I had an inkling (Maynard would go for takedowns). I knew he was going to do what he had to do to get the win, which was exactly what he should've done. It was a smart game plan by him. He's the best wrestler in the lightweight division and one of the best in the UFC.”

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt acknowledged that even though he’s made great strides with his wrestling, it just wasn’t enough at UFC 118.

“I need to make sure my game is capable of beating everybody in every aspect and it wasn't. So, I've been doing wrestling every single day. I've been watching wrestling and researching wrestling every single day," he said.

Once Florian does get back into action, one name that has been mentioned as a potential opponent is Australian George Sotiropoulos. Another accomplished black belt, Sotiropoulos is 6-0 in the UFC and has won seven straight fights since a disqualification loss to Shinya Aoki back in October 2006. The only other blemish on his record is a split-decision loss to “The Ultimate Fighter 10” alumnus Kyle Noke in July 2005.

Florian said a matchup with Sotiropoulos is one he welcomes, as it fits his pre-requisite to face a top lightweight when he does return to the Octagon.

"I just want to fight a tough guy, a top guy," said Florian. "I know there's talk about me facing George Sotiropoulos out there. I haven't heard anything from the UFC, but in my mind, I think it would be a great fight. I think it'd be a phenomenal fight. He's a guy who likes to fight and likes to go forward. He's aggressive and I think that's a fight that could do big things for both of us. He's one of those guys that I think are at the top of the food chain in the lightweight division."
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