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Florian tries to give Penn incentive to fight him

UFC 91 was billed as having only one title fight but a second quasi-title was at stake when Kenny Florian entered the cage last night to take on Joe Stevenson.

Following August’s unanimous decision victory over Roger Huerta at UFC 87, Florian had been promised a second shot at the UFC lightweight title. However, plans were put into flux when it was determined that incumbent champion B.J. Penn’s next fight would take place against UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 in January.

After this week’s revelation by UFC President Dana White that the winner of last night’s lightweight title between Florian and Stevenson would receive a future shot at the 155 pound title, Florian was essentially put in a position where he had to defend his title shot.

Instead of trying to wait to cash in on his title shot until after Penn had fought St. Pierre, Florian rolled the dice last night against Stevenson, a recently-christened black belt who is not only one of the best lightweights in the UFC, but also the world.

However, the gamble paid off. Florian not only managed to stay active and earn an additional payday in the process, but his title shot remained in tact following his rear naked choke submission of Stevenson at 4:03 of round 1.

After having been passed over by Penn once before, Florian used his mic time following the victory to give Penn added incentive to fight him.

“This is exactly what I to do out here now I want B.J.’s belt,” Florian told UFC color commentator Joe Rogan and the near-sellout crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “B.J. you’re one of the best fighters out here. I’m here to test myself. I consider you a master. It’s time to kill that master.”

On the surface, that might seem like tough talk coming from the Boston native but before anyone takes the quote as a personal attack against Penn, realize it was likely nothing more than a business decision. Florian is almost always respectful to his competition and last night’s “It’s time to kill that master” quip is nothing more than a pre-meditated soundbyte to help create more demand for a Penn vs. Florian fight.

In July, I spoke with a source close to Penn who indicated that at this stage of the current lightweight champion’s career, he only wants to be involved with major fights. The source went on to add that Penn was pushing for his next fight to be vs. St. Pierre because with Florian looking like the anticipated winner of Huerta at the time, he just didn’t believe that Penn vs. Florian was a fight the public was clamoring to see.

It’s looking clear that Florian wasn’t exactly happy about being passed over and is trying to do everything in his power to give the masses a reason to want to see Penn vs. Florian. Last night’s decision to call out Penn was a smart move from one of the smartest fighters in the game.

  • glock says:

    What real fan wouldn’t want to see that fight?? I think Penn has been apprehensive cause Kflow could make him look bad at best, (hurting his chances for a big payday megabout like the GSP show and hurt his legacy) or lose the LW belt at worst. But since that water is under the bridge now anyway, it’s a moot point.
    The bigger question is what is the right thing to do now? Make Kenny wait? with a chance of being injured in placeholder bouts till Bj is ready again at LW?

    It’s a sh!t sandwich for Kenny anyway way you want to look at it unless they just give him the “interim” belt for Bj to “win” back if he even wants to come back to LW after the GSP fight.

    The unfortunate reality is that a great fight with megamoney trumps a great fight every time.

  • pitbull17 says:

    So are you saying that just because the Penn/St.Pierre fight is a megamoney fight it’s not gonna be a great fight, personnaly i would rather watch Penn and St. Pierre anyday because they are two of the most skilled fighters in the world. Florian is awesome, and a fight with penn would be good, but i think the fight with St. Pierre will be better.

  • Voridor says:

    I honestly believe Penn is not dodging Florian. I think he wants to avenge his loss(on a side note, I think GSP will win again) to GSP and make a lot of money in the process. Penn staying at 155 would be wise indeed for the champ as he as beaten the toughest fighter in Sherk. Florian is probably the most improved fighter I have ever seen. I bet against him last night and could not believe the domination over JDaddy.

    I still believe that a fight with Sherk is going to happen again and I don’t see him beating Sherk at any point.

  • jimbo says:

    Its just that Florian has been next in line for awhile now. If they fight it wont be till April. Its five months off for him unless he wants to risk his title shot again. If he had not stepped up and fought Stevenson it would have been a 8 month wait for the title shot he has earned. Id say now Florian waits or risks his title shot again against Sherk. I want to see Penn vs St Pierre but he should have had to fight Florian first in my opinion its not fair.

  • glock says:

    Kenny’s not dodging anybody now, so i guess the reality for him is a Sherk fight.
    He’s way better than he was last time they fought and Sherk is not.

    I can’t honestly say that I think BJ dodged Kenny, BJ is a warrior and will fight anyone; it’s just that the GSP fight is a HUGE fight and I don’t think he or the UFC would want to jeopardize that opportunity, and timing wise it just worked out the way it did. For BJ it’s good timing, for Kenny it’s not.

    Being the optimist here I guess we see Florian/Sherk, hopefully Kenny continues his ass whuppin’ ways and at that point BJ has no excuse when Kenny calls him out whether he has both belts or not.

    If Bj were to win against GSP I don’t see him heading back to LW for Sherk . If he doesn’t win (and I’m guessing he won’t) then the question is do they MAKE Kenny fight Sherk 1st before BJ is ready at LW again. I mean who wants to see Penn /Sherk 2 before Penn/Florian?

    Mayo or mustard on yer sandwich Kenny?

  • Rich S. says:

    Of course Penn isn’t dodgine Florian..
    I hate to say this, because Florian is really good, but Penn is so out of Kenflo’s league that he probably barely even knows who he is..

    I just think Penn is too hyper for his own good..
    I don’t know if the guy has ever defended a title..

    He beat Matt Hughes for the WW title and then left..
    and he got the interim by beating Daddy..
    and as soon as he “officially” won the title from Sherk, he’s leaving again..

    It just kind of annoys me..

    I mean, Bj’s a monster..
    but A. Silva’s a monster too.. and HE sure doesn’t mind sticking around at one weight as long as there’s formidable opponents for him..
    and there is DEFINITELY worthy opponents at LW..

    I just think it’s disrespectful to the LW division when their champ is off, not defending his belt, trying to set up a fight, that probably won’t happen for a number of months.. all the while many worthy LW’s have earned there shot..

    I mean, when Silva went to a different division, he came back to MW QUICK..

    but this BJ/GSP match is taking forever..
    and the LW division is just getting MORE and MORE title contenders..
    Kenny’s the one with the shot now..
    but by the BJ/Kenflo even happens, fighters like Sherk, Maynard, and Diaz will already be ready for their shots..

    and i’m SURE that BJ will try to make another crazy move after defending the LW title for the first time.. he doesn’t like to stick around..


  • Bad Monkey says:

    No way in hell Florian should have to fight Sherk before he fights BJ. Sherk already got his shot and BJ beat him. Kenny & BJ have never fought and no real fan can say they don’t want to see that fight. Florian clowned Joe Stevenson badly last night and he full on deserves the next shot at the LW title. Anything else is just bullshit.

  • keenan says:

    id put money on it that win or lose after gsp oenn will fight florian

  • Voridor says:

    Kenflo has the option of waiting for the title shot. The problem is that UFC wants to cash in on a big “champion vs champion 2”. Florian believes he can beat Sherk, and if he wants another big payday, He will fight Sherk in a few months. I believe he will fight again before BJ.

  • aaron says:

    why couldn’t ken flo still fight sherk, but still be guaranteed the title shot whether he wins/ looses! if sherk wins he could fight the winner of bj/ken flo

  • THORAZINE says:

    FLORIAN is peaking as an athlete and has transformed him self into a slick boxer/muay thai fighter.. I think that type of quick finish over Joe really has given Florian confidence in his abilities…Florian will give BJ problems and I actually think if Florian fought Sherk he’d win… he’ll give BJ a tougher fight than anyone else in the 155lb division, but I don’t see Florian beating BJ.

  • BUENA says:

    1st joe is not the fighter everyone saying he is. He dont fight that good and matching him vs ken was a joke . now for ken he would get punished by bj that all to it.

  • dualdiagnosis says:

    Look, BJ is going to beat GSP in Jan. He won’t be going back to LW, he will be pressing to Dana to let him fight Silva. BJ is on a quest, a quest to prove he is the best fighter ever.

  • matthew says:

    BJ vs Silva?

    Give me the number of your dealer. He obviously has some good stuff.

  • dpk says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Kenny fights someone like Spencer Fisher around the time of the GSP v BJ fight. This would be someone who is a good fighter, but Florian should handle him.

  • Carm says:

    I loved Sherk/Florian one, but really not interested in Sherk/Florian 2. I rather see him fight BJ.

  • the Levi says:

    Penn vs Florian has got to happen soon. KenFlo has earned a title shot.

  • shiki31 says:

    florian has earned the shot but let’s be serious, only serious mma fans want to see penn v florian. st pierre has the name recognition and that fight, no doubt, would garner more money at the gates and on ppv. florian is a smart guy though. i was pretty surprised to hear him call out bj but it makes sense now. in any case, florian probably presents bj’s greatest challenge at lw not because of skill or whatever but florian has the ability to cut his opponents at any time during a fight and he is a smart fighter as well. at ww, bj has a lot more intriguing matchups namely with fitch, sanchez, koschek and the most difficult fight probably being thiago alves. we’ll see but i really don’t see any big fights at lw for bj right now so good job at promoting that fight by florian…

  • shiki31 says:

    it seems as if the lw division is at a stale period right now with all the best fighters having already fought each other and the remaining matchups not as intriguing as once thought. penn v sherk was the last “big” lw fight. there aren’t any more fights for penn…bj fighting florian is like what florian went through fighting joe stevenson, it’s more of a risk than a challenge to him at this point. if he can fight a bigger fight, even if he loses (like most people are saying he wants to fight anderson silva) i think it would be more satisfying to him than destroying a challenger at lw (not saying that he will destroy florian but figuratively speaking).

  • BUENA says:

    bj vs silva is like you saying you’re going to build a rocket and fly to the moon but then again this is all talk

  • DamonO says:

    You guys are talking like Sherk would be Florian’s next opponent if he wants to fight before BJ? I think he is more likely to fight Nate Diaz, or Gray Maynard considering their winning record similarities. Sherk needs to climb a little higher before he fights the likes of Florian again.

    In fact Diaz vs. Florian would be a great headliner for the TUF finale (compared to Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia) and Florian finished Stevenson pretty quickly so he is still fresh to fight again before the end of the year, one month away on December 13th.

    If he would fight Diaz on that day and beat him, he will take out another top contender and receive a pretty big pay day as that is a very marketable fight.

    If Florian and Diaz don’t fight on that night then they should sometime soon. I like Clay Guida but it’s obvious that Diaz should be fighting better competition now and I don’t think that Guida is up to par with Diaz quite yet.

    If the Diaz vs. Florian fight doesn’t happen at all then at least have Diaz vs. Maynard!

    Either way, Florian will more than likely fight someone (?) in the meantime. I don’t think he can wait until April, at the soonest, to fight BJ.

  • ScottMMA says:

    Sometime you have to act like a prick in MMA to get paid……sad but true. Kenny should kick the smack talk into overdrive.


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