Former three-time UFC title challenger Kenny Florian has retired as an active competitor.
UFC President Dana White made the announcement following “The Ultimate Fighter 15” Finale weigh-ins on Fuel TV. Florian was then introduced, explaining the motivation behind his decision.
“I’ve dealt with injuries in the past. Back in November, I hurt my back working out, and it hasn’t quite been the same,” Florian told host and broadcast partner Jon Anik. “I’ve been trying to get back by doing rehab, but a few weeks ago I kind of injured it again. It has been tough not being able to train. I don’t want to do anything half-assed. I want to do it 100 percent. Your identity becomes what you do, and it has been tough [to make this decision].”
Florian ends his Octagon career with a promotional record of 12-5, debuting with the organization as a blown-up middleweight on the original season of “TUF.” After falling in the season finale to winner Diego Sanchez in 2005, “KenFlo” squared off with Sean Sherk for the vacant lightweight strap the following year, falling in a five-round unanimous decision. Six consecutive victories would follow, but Florian once again came up short in his bid to capture the lightweight title, this time suffering a submission loss to B.J. Penn in 2009.
Florian capped his career at featherweight, topping Diego Nunes this past June to earn a shot at 145-pound pacesetter Jose Aldo. The Massachusetts native would again taste defeat in his third UFC title fight, however, dropping a unanimous nod to the hard-hitting Brazilian at UFC 136 this past October.
Though Florian will no longer appear inside the cage, the 36-year-old says fans will see plenty of him on the other side of the chain-link fence.
“I’m so thankful that I’m able to do commentary and do shows like ‘UFC Tonight.’ I’m definitely going to be busy doing stuff on TV for this sport. I’m going to be coaching. I’m opening a gym in the L.A. area soon, and I’m going to get a blog going, because I’m passionate about health and nutrition.”
Florian could not nail down one single career-defining highlight, but the fighter told Anik that he is thankful for all the positive moments in his career, including the opportunity to compete inside the Octagon.
“I don’t know what I would have done if Dana hadn’t [seen me fight and asked me to try out for ‘TUF’],” said Florian. “I’m just so thankful to the UFC and Zuffa for everything they’ve done. Fighting found me, and I’m a much better person because of it. I’m happy.”