Kenny Florian: UFC's Uncrowned Champion

Mitch WilesContributor IFebruary 6, 2009

Kenny Florian (11-3) defeated Joe Stevenson (29-9) at UFC 91 to become the No. 1 contender for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Florian is on a six-fight win streak, all six fights in the UFC, ending five of the six fights via submission or knock-out.

Kenny Florian has a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and ever-improving Muay Thai skills. Will current Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn accept the challenge?

B.J. Penn has revealed in recent interviews that he was thinking about retiring if he defeated Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94. Penn would have redeemed a UFC 58 loss, and would have been the first Fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time. Penn's legacy would have been set in stone.

However, Penn was destroyed by Pierre at UFC 94. Penn was unable to answer the bell for the fifth and final round. What was built as a fight for the ages turned out to be a lopsided contest.
Penn would later make excuses for his poor performance—illegal use of Vaseline. In a Video Blog, UFC President Dana White and Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell appear outraged by the Vaseline incident. Penn has friends in high places—his legacy will not be easily tarnished.

With Penn unable to retire as a reigning double-champion, he must defend his Lightweight Title against No. 1 contender Kenny Florian...right?

Penn's cry for justice from the UFC 94 incident has sparked Pierre to offer a rematch. Pierre walked out of the Octogon at UFC 94 unscathed, $400,000 richer, and winning on all scorecards—Pierre has little to fear from a rematch with Penn. But, No. 1 contenders for both Championships have already been decided:

Welterweight No. 1 Contender Thiago Alves (UFC 90)
Lightweight No. 1 Contender Kenny Florian (UFC91)

Georges St. Pierre fights on average three times a year, Penn only twice. Team Pierre has suggested a Summer '09 rematch. Via a Blog on BJPENN.COM, Penn has accepted the challenge.

That means both fighters will have to fight in May and August respectively. But will Penn risk losing his title to Florian before the Superfight rematch?

It has been nine months since B.J. Penn has defended his Lightweight Championship. If Penn chooses to have his next fight in August against Pierre, the UFC Lightweight Championship will be dormant for over a year.

When it comes down to legacy, and retiring at the top of the sport, I see B.J. Penn  dodging Kenny "KenFlo" Florian—the UFC's Uncrowned Lightweight Champion.

Don't believe me? Let's wait and see.