Two-time UFC lightweight title-challenger Kenny Florian (14-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) officially is headed to the featherweight division.
“I’ll indeed be fighting at 145 pounds,” wrote Florian, who’s an analyst on ESPN’s “MMA Live” program. “It is a great new challenge. My goal is to get belt at featherweight, and I’ll be back at 155.”
Final WEC champion/current UFC titleholder Jose Aldo currently rules the 145-pound division. He next fights Mark Hominick at UFC 129 in April.
Florian hopes to get a title shot sooner rather than later.
“I’ll always have haters no matter what decision I make, but for me, it’s always been about new and difficult challenges and doing what I love,” he wrote.
Last week he made strong hints about the possible move, which fighters such as Tyson Griffin recently made following the UFC-WEC merger and the addition of a featherweight division. But Florian, who actually was “The Ultimate Fighter 1” runner-up while fighting as a middleweight, admits making weight for lightweight, let alone featherweight, can be a chore.
“Making 155, it’s tough sometimes,” he said. “It’s been tough.”
So what would it take to get to featherweight?
“I’m not sure if it would be a total lifestyle change,” he said. “But yeah, it’d probably be another lifestyle change. We’ll see. I’m not, well – we’ll see.”
Florian currently is nursing a knee injury that forced him out of a January UFC Fight Night 23 headliner with Evan Dunham.
“The knee is very good; I got it amputated last week,” Florian joked. “So I shouldn’t have any more pain.
“No, it feels good. It’s probably about 75 to 80 percent (healthy), and hopefully in another two or three weeks, I should be ready to start sparring and all that stuff.”