HKL Exclusive: Kenny Florian Talks Drop to 145
(Headkicklegend.com, by Matthew Roth) Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with both Cosmo Alexandre and Kenny Florian. It was a pleasure for me because I’m a fan of both fighters and though there was a bit of a language barrier with Cosmo, he was more than willing to provide information about training with Kenny Florian for his upcoming fight with Diego Nunes.
Kenny provided even more details and answered other questions ranging from the fight at 145 to talking about Bob Reilly. It’s probably one of my favorite interviews to date and hopefully I’ll have a chance to talk to him again in the future.
Matthew: Kenny, this will be the first time that you cut down to 145 in your career, hows the cut going?
Kenny: So far so good. Everything’s going pretty smoothly. I expect it to be tougher than it was at 155 but I don’t expect there to be any major problems.
Matthew: You were a soccer player in college, do you feel your ability to get into soccer shape has kind of helped you with cutting the weight down to 145?
Kenny: Yeah, a little bit. It was pretty much my walking around weight. I used to walk around at 150-155 pounds just from running all the time. It’s a little different, my body’s adapted to the MMA training a little differently, but yeah there’s definitely some correlation there.
Matthew: With the drop down, do you feel that you’ve maintained the strength you had at 155?
Kenny: Yeah, I have. The injury was actually a blessing in disguise. The only thing I was really able to do was upper body strength and conditioning and really it was an opportunity for me to just get stronger with everything. So I’m actually much stronger than I was at 155 now going to 145. At this point, my workouts have still been strong and I still feel very good.
Matthew: Are you still training with your brother at your training center or are you now exclusively with Firas?
Kenny: Yeah, I’m still training with my brother Keith. I do most of my training in Boston and try and get up to Montreal at least once a month.
Matthew: The fight with Diego Nunes at UFC 131, what kinda adjustments in your training have you done?
Kenny: With Diego Nunes, he’s a very fast guy and a very good Muay Thai striker. So I’ve been doing a lot more Muay Thai, I got away from that a little bit; I did a lot more boxing for my striking. So I just got back to doing things that I used to do in my training as far as drills and dealing a little bit more with the kicking style. I haven’t gone against a good quality Muay Thai guy in a while so as far as that, I’m bringing guys in, I’ve been focusing my training on a guy who’s a very strong and fast striker.
Matthew: You brought up the Muay Thai guy, is that why you’re bringing in Cosmo Alexandre for your training?
Kenny: Absolutely, it doesn’t get any better than a guy like Cosmo Alexandre. The term “world class” is always thrown around by different people but Cosmo really is world class. Just to have the opportunity to train with a guy like that is something that very few people have the opportunity to do. So yeah, when I had the ability to train with Cosmo I jumped on it and that’s something I’m really looking forward to doing.
Matthew: In a recent interview, a question was brought up to Ben Henderson about the supposed rivalry between the WEC guys and the UFC guys. There’s a lot of UFC guys now dropping down to 145. I guess the question is, do you feel that there was a rivalry between with the lightweights?
Kenny: I don’t think there really was much of a rivalry. Anyone who fights at that high level knows that WEC guys are very good and the UFC guys are very good. Would all the guys from the WEC be able to stick around in the UFC? I don’t know. It’s the same as guys who just enter the UFC. Not everyone will be able to stick around. But if you’re talking about the upper echelon of both organizations, those are dangerous and legit 155ers no doubt about it. As far as I’m concerned I’ve always had respect for the good guys in the WEC.
Matthew: As far as your drop down, where do you see yourself in the Featherweight division?
Kenny: I think coming from my experience at fighting some of the top guys at 155, I’d like to think I’m right there on top with all the best 145ers. But it’s a whole different weight class, a weight class I haven’t competed at before so we’re gonna find out. I just want to go out there and put on a good performance. Going in against Diego Nunes who is ranked as high as number four or number seven in the world at that weight class, I think that’s a great opportunity for me to show that I’m at the top of that weight class and hopefully get a title shot after that.
Matthew: You’re one of the few fighter that has made the transition to broadcasting. You’ve worked with MMA Live quite a bit, do you feel that every fighter needs some sort of future strategy or plan? You’ve chosen broadcasting, do you feel that’s good foresight on your part?
Kenny: I went to college for Communications and I kind of envisioned myself doing something in that regard. I had no idea it would be Mixed Martial Arts at the time but I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with ESPN and being in their future plans. I have the school with my brother Keith and I enjoy doing seminars and teaching. I think every fighter should have a backup plan. I think every professional athlete should have a backup plan because you really don’t know how long you’re gonna be in the game. You can get injured tomorrow and everything is over, so it’s important to have other ventures. Whether it’s a business or other opportunities past fighting, it’s a good idea because you really have no idea how long it could last.
Matthew: Last week the UFC announced the insurance plan for fighters. What’s your take on that?
Kenny: I think it’s a tremendous step forward for the sport and all the athletes involved, myself included. Coming back from a MCL tear and knee injury, I was out of commission and had to pay out of pocket for a lot of things like physical rehab, paying for a brace that was $500, things like that. So those are things that will truly truly help fighters. I know there are other guys out there who are just starting out and things can be very difficult for them coming up. I think it was an awesome gesture by the UFC and a huge step forward the sport in general. I think it’s incentive for the fighters.
Matthew: I agree. There’s been one person who’s been a thorn in the side of MMA for quite some time in Bob Reilly. He used it as spin to say “there was no reason to regulate the sport cause fighters are getting injured” so it’s actually a bad thing fighters are getting insurance.
Kenny: A guy like Bob Reilly, I think he’s a guy who really needs to be educated on the sport. Just the things that he says regarding Mixed Martial Arts shows a great deal of ignorance about the sport and how it’s run and how the fights are run. He just sees it as violence. It’s very difficult to convince someone who just sees the sport as violent to think anything positive about it. So I think it comes down to truly educating him because I don’t think he sees anything but violence when it comes to the sport. So it’s kind of a tall task cause it’s like dealing with a five year old.
Matthew: A lot of fighters have college degrees, do you get annoyed that there is a perception that fighters aren’t well educated and are just meathead jocks who want to beat you up?
Kenny: I think there’s a couple of stereotypes that fighters aren’t well educated or they’re not intelligent. Or these are guys who are coming off their barstools to fight. The reality is that these are guys who’ve been studying the martial arts for many years and have dedicated their life to the sport. You’re talking about some of the hardest trained athletes in the world, and that’s just a fact. You look at our training schedules and how we prepare from the strategy to the coaches and everything that goes into it. This is a real sport. These are guys that are educated. They aren’t thugs. I think that perception is getting changed and I think there’s a lot of great athletes that provide a great example that we are real athletes.
Matthew: Since the drop down to 145, how hungry are you on a daily basis?
Kenny: Ah, yeah I’m hungry to fight and I’m literally hungry. It’s a change in lifestyle. It definitely is a change in lifestyle. I’m eating smaller meals. The carbs and protein requirements have changed. The fats have changed. Everything has changed. I really have a lot of confidence in my nutrition plan that was made by George Lockhart. I feel great, I still have a phenomenal amount of energy and strength. Obviously something is there with this diet. Of course I can’t have my cookies or bread but I am eating very healthy and performing well.
Posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 in Updates.
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