UFC 131: Another Class for Kenny Florian to Explore; Featherweight Title Hopes

Mark Pare@NEPats17Correspondent IIJune 8, 2011

Kenny Florian will try and avoid this kind of result at UFC 131.
Kenny Florian will try and avoid this kind of result at UFC 131.Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Kenny "KenFlo" Florian will be fighting in yet another division at UFC 131, as he makes his Featherweight debut against Diego Nunes.

Florian has shown that he's a world-class fighter, and that he can do it in four weight classes.

We all remember when Florian was part of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, fighting as a middleweight, but he went on to lose to Diego Sanchez in the finale.

The drop from middleweight to welterweight was a given, middleweight wasn't his ideal class and he only fought there in order to join the show.

At welterweight, Florian looked impressive, defeating Alex Karalexis and Kit Cope before the lightweight division was reinstated into the UFC.

Florian handily beat Sam Stout in the first round of their fight with a rear-naked choke, which earned him a shot at the then-vacant UFC Lightweight title.

He lost that bout to Sean Sherk, and was forced to start over from scratch. Florian eventually clawed his way back to earn another title shot, never losing his outspoken identity.

Florian's comments usually revolved around the manner in which he finished his fights. Few of his fights ever went to the scorecard, and he finished five of six (four by submission) during his climb back into contention. Florian finally earned a shot at then-Lightweight champion B.J. Penn at UFC 101.

Florian's climb back up ended in disappointment, as he was choked out in the fourth round by Penn. Florian, yet again, came out disappointed after a title fight.

After two straight wins over Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi, Florian came up against Gray Maynard at UFC 118.  In the time leading up to this bout, Frankie Edgar became the new Lightweight Champion, and Maynard was poised for a rematch with the champion, a man he had already defeated.

That motivation, it seemed, propelled Maynard to push the pace a bit more, and it worked.  Florian fell in yet another lightweight bout, and Maynard became the new No. 1 contender.

UFC 131 will mark another new beginning for Florian, and with UFC President Dana White claiming he has a title shot against Jose Aldo in his future (if he can beat Nunes) Florian may have found a new home in the UFC's Featherweight division.

Florian has fought almost all the contenders at lightweight, so this change may be a good thing.

He can fight his way up to the Featherweight belt and hold on to it for dear life, and he'll have plenty of top contenders to fight in the coming years with all the fighters coming over from the WEC.

Guys like Mark Hominick, The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 champion Joe Stevenson, The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 finalist Manny Gamburyan, Chad Mendes, Josh Grispi and a host of others provide plenty of talent in the division, and with Florian in the mix, the Featherweight division should be must-see TV for years to come.

What do you think?