Seventeen fights. Twelve wins. Four different weight classes. Three title shots.
Those are some serious career accomplishments for any UFC fighter, but today one of the sport’s favorites hung up his gloves for the last time.
Former Ultimate Fighter season 1 finalist Kenny Florian retired from the sport on Thursday following the weigh-ins for the Ultimate Fighter Live finale on FX. It was Florian’s career coming full circle as he said goodbye on the same stage that helped launch his career.
“He’s been an amazing fighter, an amazing ambassador for this sport and for this company, and now going on to bigger and better things as a commentator,” UFC President Dana White said about Florian as he announced his retirement.
Florian sits as the only fighter in UFC history to ever compete in four weight classes. The Boston native started as a middleweight when he first entered the Octagon during the first season of the Ultimate Fighter before dropping to welterweight, then lightweight and eventually featherweight where he finished his career.
“I’m just so thankful to the UFC and everybody here at Zuffa for everything they’ve done. It’s crazy, fighting found me and I’m a much better person because of it,” Florian said.
Late last year as Florian got back in the gym following a loss to UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, he suffered a serious back injury while lifting weights. Florian has dealt with different ailments throughout his career, but he knew right away this was the type of injury you just don’t bounce back from in a few weeks or even a few months.
Florian spoke honestly about the injury and admitted that if he wasn’t going to be able to step back into the Octagon and give everything he had, he didn’t want to fight.
“I’ve dealt with injuries in the past and back in November I was back into training and I hurt my back working out, and it just hasn’t quite been the same. I’ve been dealing with it, trying to get back, rehab and things like that and a few weeks ago kind of re-injured it again. So it’s been tough,” Florian stated.
Over the last several months, Florian has been omnipresent on the UFC’s new programming schedule between Fox, FX and Fuel TV where he’s served as a commentator for a slew of different shows. While he is retiring from active competition, Florian won’t be going far away from the UFC because he’ll still be holding down his job as a commentator.
The Massachusetts native will also look to open a new gym at some point in the future in the Los Angeles area, where he’s relocated as he’s begun full time with the UFC in his commentating role.
Florian currently owns and operates Florian Martial Arts along with his brother Keith in Boston.
“I’m so thankful that I’m able to do commentary and do shows like UFC Tonight and do things like that here for the UFC, and for Fuel and Fox and so I’m definitely going to be busy doing stuff on TV for this sport. (I’m) going to be coaching. I live out in L.A. now so I’m opening up a gym out in the L.A. area at some point soon,” said Florian.
While he never won a title, Florian was a fighter that sat near or top of the division throughout his career. He was a part of the most historic season ever of the Ultimate Fighter, and became an avid spokesman for MMA over the years.
But as of today, Kenny Florian is hanging up his gloves and calling it a career.
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