Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kenny Florian Ready for the Road Back to the Title

After winning three consecutive fights after his loss to Diego Sanchez at the Ultimate Fighter season one finale, Kenny Florian was given a chance to compete for reincarnation of the UFC Lightweight Championship. No more reality fighting veteran, Florian had reached official UFC title contender status. Florian went on to battle Sean Sherk and lost a unanimous decision in October of 2006. Not only did Florian gain the experience of fighting for a title, he went the full five rounds against Sherk. Now that Florian tasted a shot of the title, he wants back in. The road starts on Saturday April 5, 2007 when he takes on Japanese sensation Dokonjonosuke Mishima at UFC’s ninth installment of at Ultimate Fight Night. Here is what Florian told ADCC News before his comeback fight.

ADCC: How disappointed were you in your loss to Sean Sherk? Have you watched the tape of the fight and is there anything you think you could have done differently? KENNY: I was very disappointed. I knew I could have fought much, much better but I learned a lot from that 5-round championship fight. It comes down to who is better on that particular night. No doubt, Sherk was better that night. I knew that night was not going to be perfect for me but I never lost hope. I still believed I would find a way to win. The whole time I was on my feet I never thought once about wrestling. I just thought about taking his head off. I got caught up in trying to trade and hurt him instead of worrying about my stance and counter wrestling. My stance and wrestling was atrocious. My ground game was not where it should have been and Sherk played the right strategy that night. I was never hurt in that fight but I was controlled for the most part and I can only blame me.

ADCC: You went the full five rounds and it seems that your back is acting up again. How is the back and will you be 100 percent in your next fight? KENNY: My back has been injured since March of 2006, when I originally I had to drop out of the fight with Sam Stout at UFC 58. It has been a long painful road but I have nobody to blame but myself. I was not training the right way and my back injury was due to instabilities in my back and core. I was just training the wrong way and my back would be so bad that I would not be able to walk. So I had a lot of acting practice before fights pretending I was 100%. With the new addition of my strength and conditioning coach, Kevin Kearns I have never felt stronger and my back has never been better. I still have some work to do on my back but I have come a long way and I know I am much better and smarter fighter because of that injury. It has been frustrating because I have not had the opportunity to show everyone what I can really do in the ring due to this back injury. One thing I realized is there is no off time between fights. I am always training now and working on getting stronger and I have been able to train jiu-jitsu now without excruciating pain. After my initial back injury, training on the ground was just too painful for me. It was so bad where I couldn’t physically sit up or walk some days but mostly it was where wrestling and striking would be really painful. I did not train for two and half weeks right before my fight with Sherk because my back was injured. I did a little pad work when I got to Vegas and then fought on Saturday. Despite that, I still thought I was going to win. I don’t want to blame that loss on my back and don’t want to use that as an excuse. I did not do what I should have done technically and tactically to win that match that night, period!

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