Kenny Florian: With His Career in Jeopardy, How Will We Remember 'KenFlo'?

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIJanuary 13, 2012

Kenny Florian has had a lengthy career in the UFC, but it may be coming to an end before the fighter is ready to call it quits.

Florian spoke with the Boston Herald about his career-threatening injury.

As of right now, obviously I can’t compete and train like I was at all. I’m just kind of doing what I can and hoping that things heal up and get better. I’m just kind of in a holding pattern. That’s why I decided to do this commentary for the time being and take this next six months to really heal up and try to make some money on the side. It sucks. The last couple of months I’ve just been figuring out what’s going on and what I’m going to do. (

"KenFlo" has found a second calling it seems with the commentary. He's grown into one of the most recognizable faces of the UFC, and he's a big part of the UFC Tonight show on FUEL TV and has also been a part of ESPN's MMA Live for years.

But how will the Massachusetts native be remembered?

To me, Florian will be remembered much in the way Dan Marino is remembered in the NFL. Marino was a great QB for years. He put up video game-like stats and set all kinds of records.

But he never won "the big one."

Much the same can be said of Florian while glancing at his career.

At first glance, Florian's career record of 16-6 might not seem like it's all that great, but when you consider all but three of his fights took place in the UFC, going 14-5 in a UFC career is pretty good.

Florian possessed great jiu-jitsu and deadly muay-thai techniques on the feet. His elbows were some of the best in the business, evident by his wins against Alex Karalexis and Joe Lauzon.

Though his career had many highlights, "KenFlo's" career will be remembered by four particular fights.

The first would be the match against Sean Sherk in 2006 for the UFC Lightweight title. It would be clear from the loss that Florian needed to evolve his MMA game considerably in order to challenge for a title again.

Florian would do so and rattle off six straight wins before challenging BJ Penn at UFC 101. This is the second fight Florian will be remembered by.

From the moment the fight started, Florian was outclassed in every manner of MMA, and it was clear that Penn was simply too much for him. But Florian wouldn't let this embarrassing loss derail his career.

He strung together two wins and challenged Gray Maynard at UFC 118 in Boston. Florian's fight against Maynard is the third bout in question.

Most fans felt that with the Boston crowd backing him, "KenFlo" couldn't lose. He had the standup to hurt Maynard on the feet and the jiu-jitsu to counteract Maynard's strong wrestling.

Unfortunately for the fans in attendance, Florian couldn't pull the trigger. For all three rounds, Florian seemed gun-shy and simply let Maynard lay on top of him to grind out a decision.

The loss led Dana White to declare that Florian chokes in big fights.

Frustrated with the defeats on the big stage at lightweight, Florian decided it would be in his best interest to drop a weight class.

"KenFlo" won in his featherweight debut and set up a title showdown with Jose Aldo. Florian was unable to utilize his game plan and was defeated via unanimous decision.

The bout against Aldo, which could be his last fight ever, is the fourth fight fans will remember when they reflect on Florian's career.

A drop to 145 pounds seemed like a desperation move for Florian and his gamble failed to pay off. He wasn't the favourite against Aldo, but "KenFlo" certainly had the tools to dethrone the featherweight champion.

Florian's evolution from a pudgy middleweight to featherweight is filled with remarkable feats. He certainly had his moments and will undoubtedly go down in UFC history as one of the best lightweights.

But his failures in the big fights will always be the first thing to come out of fans' mouths when mentioning "KenFlo."

"Kenny Florian? Yeah, he was good, but he never won a title."