Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Kenny Florian competed in a record four weight classes during a successful run in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, setting himself apart from all other mixed martial artists out of “The Bay State.”
Florian was a finalist on Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series -- he fought and lost to Diego Sanchez as a middleweight -- and went on to fight for UFC championships on three different occasions. Though losses to Sean Sherk and B.J. Penn at 155 pounds and Jose Aldo at featherweight prevented him from ever reaching the top, “KenFlo” put together an undeniably productive career inside the Octagon.
Born in Westwood, Massachusetts, on May 26, 1976, Florian finished with a professional record of 14-6, going 12-5 in the UFC. Wins over former Strikeforce champion Clay Guida, onetime Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi, two-division Deep titlist Dokonjonosuke Mishima, “The Ultimate Fighter 2” winner Joe Stevenson, American Top Team’s Din Thomas, Roger Huerta and Joe Lauzon highlight his resume.
Florian was a three-time “Fight of the Night” and two-time “Submission of the Night” performance bonus winner. He retired in 2012 and made the transition to the broadcast booth.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Joe Lauzon, Marcus Davis, John Howard, Gabriel Gonzaga