Kenny Florian will return to the Octagon, likely at lightweight. Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
"I still love this sport tremendously and still want to be a part of it," Florian said in an exclusive interview with the Herald. "I know myself and it's not even just being competitive, but it's just being there learning and competing. There's still very much a fire burning there so I'm going to do it."
"I didn't get in this to be second-best, of course. But at the same time, not everybody can be a champion," Florian said. "I'm just going to go back to 155, work my way up, take it one fight at a time and see where it puts me.
"I think there's exciting fights out there for me, there's still challenges out there for me, there's still things I'd like to try to improve on and that's the main thing. I don't necessarily have the title in my eyes, but I do have my own personal goals as far as the technical level that I want to get to."
The 35-year-old fighter, who also works as an ESPN analyst and UFC commentator, lost to Jose Aldo at UFC 136 on October 8. It was his third missed chance at obtaining a coveted UFC title, and it was assumed that Florian would retire in order to take full advantage of the career he had carved out for himself outside of the Octagon.
Florian is still considered one of the top fighters in either the featherweight or lightweight division however. He may be able to make another run toward the 155 lb. title, but I think the UFC may use him as a gatekeeper to the upper-echelon of the division, testing rising prospects and worthy veterans before they make a run toward the title. It isn't unfathomable, however, that he earns another shot if contenders are unavailable or injuries mount. If Kenny can put together two or three solid wins, it's a real possibility we see him in title contention once again.