Kenny Florian Says Gray Maynard Fight Could Be For Title Shot

It’s fair to say that UFC lightweight fighter Kenny Florian is going to have a busy weekend.  Yesterday he hosted a UFC Q&A with Roy Nelson, tonight he provides color-commentary alongside Mike Goldberg at the TUF 11 season finale, and he’ll do the same on Sunday night at WEC 49.

Somehow ‘Ken-Flo’ also found time to speak with Fight Magazine about his upcoming UFC 118 fight with Gray Maynard.

“Very excited, you know.  I get a great opponent in my home town -it’s a dream come true,” he enthuses.  “Gray has a lot of momentum, undefeated, and has a lot of very tough skills to deal with so I’m looking forward to the challenge, man.”

And though there’s no official confirmation yet, Florian feels that a title shot could be awarded to the winner of the bout.

“I haven’t heard anything from the UFC but I suspect that’s probably going to be the case, and maybe even more-so for Gray I think considering he hasn’t had the opportunity, so I think for Gray it’s a tremendous opportunity.  If he gets by me I assume he’ll get the shot.  If I do, who knows.  For me I’m just focusing on dealing with what Gray brings into the octagon that night.”

I think this sounds about right.  It’s going to be hard for the UFC to resist giving Maynard the opportunity if he defeats what would be his toughest opponent to date to go 8-0 in the UFC.

As for Florian, he’s had two prior attempts to seize the 155lb belt, coming up empty handed against both Sean Sherk and BJ Penn, but I still believe he’s the 2nd best lightweight behind Penn, and with recent wins over Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi, and  having only lost once in his last eight fights, I certainly would not begrudge him a third opportunity.

The other factor that marks this bout as a title eliminator is that the main event of the same card in August is the rematch between Penn and Frankie Edgar.

Watch Kenny Florian’s full interview, including a brief cameo from Rashad Evans, below.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.