UFC 131: Does Kenny Florian Deserve a Title Shot with a Win Against Diego Nunes?

Vince CareyContributor IJune 7, 2011

While most of the hype around UFC 131 is centered on the main event between Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin, there is another fighter who is likely a win away from a title shot this Sunday.

Kenny Florian is making his featherweight debut against Diego Nunes this weekend, and due to fortunate circumstances and marketability alone, he’ll likely get a title shot with a win.

But does he deserve it?

Florian has already gotten two shots at UFC gold and came up short both times, getting dominated by Sean Sherk and looking sluggish before being submitted by BJ Penn back at UFC 101.

Florian worked his way back into the title picture by August of last year, but was controlled by Gray Maynard at UFC 118, losing a shot at the title in front of his hometown crowd.

After the loss to Maynard, Florian decided to make the cut to 145.

Due to Chad Mendes passing on a title shot with Jose Aldo in favor of staying active and fighting Rani Yahya in August, there is no clear contender for the featherweight belt when Aldo returns, which is likely to happen in the Fall.

With the most recognizable name in the division and the ability to finish a fight both standing and on the feet, Florian is an attractive option for the UFC to throw into the fire against Aldo.

While Mendes is clearly the second-best guy at 145, and Florian will own just one win in the division if he beats Nunes, he still might be the most qualified fighter available to fight Aldo this fall.