Kenny Florian officially announced his retirement from fighting on Thursday. He had been contemplating walking away from the Octagon after a back injury. He walks away as one of the fighters who helped the UFC build to its current size.
Though Florian had three title shots and didn't win any, his career had plenty of highlights:
Cutting down to featherweight and beating Diego Nunes at UFC 131: After starting in the UFC at 185 lbs. and methodically working down to 155 lbs., the already thin Florian wanted a shot at featherweight and champion Jose Aldo. To get that shot, he first had to get through Diego Nunes, both to prove that he could cut down to 145 and that he could win at that weight. He did it, beating Nunes in a unanimous decision.
"I want BJ's belt!": Florian had one title shot against Sean Sherk. It was early in his UFC career, and he wasn't quite ready. With six straight lightweight wins, Florian had the credentials but it couldn't hurt to ask for it. After submitting Joe Stevenson in the first round, Florian said the phrase that was used in ubiquitous commercials: "I want BJ's belt!"
Stopping the Roger Huerta train at UFC 87: Heading into this fight, Huerta had a ton of hype surrounding him. He hadn't lost in the UFC and his most recent fight was a thrilling, comeback win over Clay Guida. If he won, he was expected to get a title shot. Florian wouldn't let that happen. He dominated Huerta for three rounds on the way to a unanimous decision.
TKO of Alex Karalexis at Ultimate Fight Night 1: After fighting at middleweight for "The Ultimate Fighter" and getting to the finals, Florian cut down to welterweight. Those Florian "Hellbows" helped him make a post-TUF mark. He made a huge cut across Karalexis' nose and won by TKO in the second round.
Now, the smart and articulate Florian will have more time to lend his voice and insight to the UFC's broadcasts on Fuel TV.