BOSTON - AUGUST 28: Gray Maynard (L) fights against Kenny Florian during their UFC lightweight bout at the TD Garden on August 28 2010 in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
The UFC 136 featherweight title fight could be the last time that fight fans see Kenny Florian as an active competitor. After an unsuccessful attempt at the featherweight title, Florian had plans to return to lightweight to close out his career. He was taking six months off to put the weight and muscle back on his frame when he suffered a herniated disk in the lumbar region of his back.
Florian spoke with the Boston Herald to address the issues he's currently dealing with and if he'll be able to return to fighting:
"It's possible, unfortunately," Florian said of his career ending. "I've kind of been going back-and-forth with some of the doctors, so it's possible. I'm going to see. 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."
"It's not good," Florian said. "That's why I'm trying to stay hopeful. We'll see. I've been out here in (Los Angeles) doing this show every week for ‘UFC Tonight' for Fuel TV and doing some other things. I'm just hoping that it can heal up and get better and then see if I can go back to doing what I was doing. So far, I still need to rest. If I go to do something physical, I'm just not able to do it. That pain is coming back."
When I had the opportunity to speak with Florian while at Head Kick Legend, a big question for me was what he would do when he finally retired from MMA. He's become an on-air analyst for Zuffa with both the UFC and WEC and settled into the role of lead analyst with MMA Live. He also runs a successful gym in Massachusetts with his brother Keith, so the man does have options. It's just a shame that he may need to walk away not on his own terms.
If UFC 136 was truly Florian's last bout, how will be be remembered?
More after the jump...
Florian can be remembered many different ways. An unlikely finalist from The Ultimate Fighter. The man who failed in every attempt to capture gold. The man who said "I FINISH FIGHTS!". Or he can be remembered as the first UFC fighter to find success in three different weight classes.
He was a victim of his time period, a guy too small for welterweight when nothing else existed. He defeated some of the best lightweights in the sport's history and failed against others. His story can either be one of tragedy or triumph depending on the spin.
I can say that when the book is closed on Florian's MMA career I'll remember him as the guy who was the most unlikely UFC fighter to ever find success in the organization. His failures in championship bouts aside, he's one of the best to ever step foot in the octagon and one of the best to ever sit in the booth. I hope to speak with him in the upcoming days to find out how he's doing and to tell him thank you for the great career. He deserves it.