Last night Kenny Florian put on another showcase of his ever-evolving skills on his way to a third round submission victory over Takanori Gomi.
Traditionally Florian has relied more on his muay thai when striking, but on this occasion he opted to out-box the boxer, showing an excellent jab that proved to be the key to him winning the first two rounds before his BJJ prowess paid dividends in the third.
There’s no doubt that the 33 year-old has come a long way since reaching the final of the very first season of The Ultimate Fighter, but with two unsuccessful title challenges in his career, what does the future hold for Florian?
The most likely answer seems to be a showdown with the seven fights undefeated wrestler Gray Maynard who has been circling a title-shot for some time but due to his knack for ending up with decision victories he’s so far been overlooked.
Maynard previously stated that he wanted to fight the winner of Florian – Gomi, so it seems there’s no real barrier in the way of this fight being put together. If it does go down it’s likely to happen in August when the UFC rolls into Florian’s hometown of Boston for the first time.
The interesting thing will be to find out what happens in the BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar fight which is a little over a week away at UFC 112. If Penn wins then will he stick around to face another challenger, or will this be the time to make his move back up to welterweight?
If he sticks around then surely the winner of Florian Vs Maynard should decide who he fights next? Not everyone believes that Florian should get another shot at Penn this soon after their last encounter, but if he defeats Maynard it would be hard to argue that anyone else has a better chance of dislodging the champion from his throne.
Personally I believe Florian’s game-plan in the previous fight was flawed and didn’t play to his strengths, and while I’m not convinced he’ would be able to beat the Hawaiin in a rematch, I do think he can give him a much tougher test than he did previously.
On the other hand, if Penn decides to vacate the title after UFC 112 then Florian Vs Maynard becomes the obvious choice for a fight to decide a new champion.
Either way I believe ‘Ken-Flo’ is destined to get a third opportunity to become a champion in the UFC, it’s just a matter of time.