It has been a busy week of retirements this week in MMA. UFC veteran Kenny Florian will join Jason Mayhem Miller on the retirement sidelines. The nine-year MMA vet has called it a day after a moderately successful run in the UFC.
“I’m just so thankful to the UFC and everyone here for everything they have done. Fighting found me and I’m a much better person because of it. I’m happy…. I’ve dealt with injuries in the past, but back in November I was training and hurt my back. It just hasn’t quite been the same … I re-injured it a few weeks back. So, it’s been tough. I haven’t been able to train. And I’m the type of person who never wants to do anything half-ass. If I’m going to train for a fight, I want to be able to do it 100 percent. [The decision] has been several months [in the making]. It’s been very, very hard. It’s been tough.”
Kenny Florian entered the UFC in 2005 as part of the first The Ultimate Fighter class. Florian fought at middleweight on the show on Chuck Liddell’s team before being traded to Randy Couture. Florian defeated Chris Leben to make it to the semi-finals. Florian lost to Diego Sanchez in the finals via TKO in the first round on the live finale special.
Florian went on to have a pretty successful career in the UFC. The only thing missing from Florian’s career was a UFC championship. Florian developed a bit of a reputation as a choker in title fights thanks to UFC president Dana White. Florian was the kind of a fighter who looked great in the chase but came up real small when it counted in the title fights. To his credit, Florian fought his way to three championship fights, four if you include the TUF 1 final.
One thing that always bugged me about Florian is that I felt the UFC pushed him too hard. The UFC pushed him as a big star and a guy that “finished fights.” Yet in big fights against BJ Penn and Jose Aldo, Florian looked anything like a guy that finished fights. Florian got his most recent championship shot after only one win in the division. Those kind of politics and the favoritism shown towards Kenny by Zuffa always rubbed me the wrong way.
To be fair, Florian certainly had his share of impressive wins. On the positive, Kenny Florian competed in four different weight classes and is a part of the most successful season in The Ultimate Fighter history. Florian has earned three UFC championship fights, going 0-3 in all three. Florian is 14-6, with 17 fights in the UFC. Florian finished 10 of his 12 UFC wins before the final bell.
One thing I won’t miss is Kenny’s brother Keith barking in his corner during fights. His loud, screeching voice is beyond obnoxious. It looks like I can turn the volume up again.