Kodiak MMA: Before we get to your upcoming fight with Din Thomas, I want to discuss visiting U.S. troops over in Afghanistan. How did that trip come to be?
Kenny Florian: I was approached by Pro Sports MVP a company that has put together many, many tours for our troops. I heard about the trip and thought it was a great idea to give back to the troops. I have done visits to military bases here in the States but nothing overseas. I have the utmost respect for our military men and women, and I thought it was a cool way to say thank you to the people who keep us safe.
Kodiak MMA: And I understand you met with some members of the Special Forces while in Afghanistan. Did you get to train with them at all?
Kenny Florian: Yes, I did have some training sessions with them and got to train them in various aspects of fighting. It was an awesome experience.
Kodiak MMA: Based on what you saw/learned during your two weeks over in Afghanistan, what’s one thing about our servicemen and women that most Americans just don’t seem to fully understand?
Kenny Florian: These guys are proud of what they are doing over there and they truly believe in what they are doing. They are the ones out there everyday putting their lives on the line for us, and they have inspired me with their stories of courage and patriotism. I spoke to the men and women who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while I was in Qatar. They made it very clear that the negativity we hear about in the news isn’t the real picture.
Kodiak MMA: You made the trip with UFC heavyweight Heath Herring and fellow Sityodtong fighter Jorge Rivera. From the looks of things in a few pictures I’ve come across, Herring looked right at home with a helmet on his head and a rifle in his hands!
Kenny Florian: Yeah, he is a Texas boy for sure. We had a great time out there.
Kodiak MMA: Herring recently announced that he’ll be taking some time off to spend time with his family and to find a new training camp. Had he discussed any of this with you?
Kenny Florian: Yes, he wanted to have a break after this last fight. I think it will help him a great deal. He has been fighting for around 10 years against some of the best in the heavyweight world. He deserves a break.
Kodiak MMA: Getting back to the Octagon….I’m very excited for your September 19 fight against Din Thomas. How are you feeling, and how has training been going?
Kenny Florian: Everything is going great. I am really looking forward to this fight. I will be training hard as always, and I will be prepared 100%.
Kodiak MMA: This will be your third fight in a little over five months. Has there been any concern about that, especially with your recent two-week trip to the Middle East?
Kenny Florian: My team was a little concerned but they see the way that I train and they see the look in my eyes. They allowed me to take this one, so long as I take a long break after this fight.
Kodiak MMA: You’ve recently choked out a dangerous Dokonjonosuke Mishima, and you then absolutely destroyed a very tough Alvin Robinson. Do you expect that Din Thomas’ experience and dangerous jiu-jitsu arsenal will make for a much tougher fight?
Kenny Florian: I think Din’s comfort in the ring, his experience, and his well-rounded game, will be tough for any fighter. I am expecting a war as I always do, and I guarantee I will be ready to win this fight wherever this fight goes.
Kodiak MMA: With the way things seem to be shaping up in the UFC lightweight division nowadays, where do you think that a win over Din Thomas next month will put you in terms of the championship picture? Has UFC management promised, or at least suggested, anything to you?
Kenny Florian: They have not promised anything and haven’t mentioned anything in regards to a title shot. I want to fight big names. I want to fight the guys who are ranked above me in the polls. The title will come eventually if I beat those names.
Kodiak MMA: I know that we’ll have to wait until October to learn the fate of Sean Sherk, but for the sake of argument, let’s say that he’s found guilty and stripped of his belt. That leaves us with BJ Penn vs. Who the Hell Knows. In your opinion, how should the participants for the vacant belt be determined?
Kenny Florian: It should be based on what they have accomplished in the sport and in the division. Obviously, recent wins should be taken into account.
Kodiak MMA: Shifting gears a bit, you’ve gone on records as a strong, vocal proponent of drug testing in MMA. Why is it, do you think, that other fighters haven’t done the same?
Kenny Florian: I think other fighters support this as well. There is really nothing to be in favor of because drug testing is already done by the different state commissions. I am in favor of it because cheating is plain bullshit. Train hard, deal with the soreness and pain and suck it up. Get mentally tough and fight without any steroids. If catching people using will prevent this then keep doing it.
Kodiak MMA: Ok, let’s move onto something much more important: your nickname. If I come up with something better (which I’m working on), would you consider it?
Kenny Florian: Of course, KenFlo isn’t a fight name, it is a nickname. I have had it since I was 14.
Kodiak MMA: I’ve seen a few pictures of you hanging with UFC broadcaster Mike Goldberg. Is Goldie a party guy???
Kenny Florian: Goldie is a great guy. Fun to hang out with. People don’t realize how funny this guy is.
Kodiak MMA: I’d now like to partake in a Kodiak MMA special feature in which I mention some upcoming UFC fights that I’m excited over, and you tell me quickly what you think about the fight. If you'd like to pick a winner, feel free. Let's do it.
Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra: Battle of the mats, eh?? Two great fighters, no doubt. I don’t know Hughes really but I do know Serra. I would love to see Serra win this. Hopefully people have realized that Matt Serra is not to be underestimated.
Shogun Rua vs. Forrest Griffin: As good as Shogun is, I think this is a tougher fight than people realize. We will see how Shogun adapts to the UFC rules and environment. These are two exciting fighters who will go at it from the beginning. Should be a great fight.
Thiago Tavares vs. Tyson Griffin: I will be watching this one closely. I give the edge to Griffin.
GSP vs. Josh Koscheck: Tough, tough fight between two great fighters. Should be very interesting.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Randy Couture: This will be a interesting fight, no doubt. However, I think Randy is going to win this one. Gonzaga is tough as nails but I think Randy has the right gameplan, skills and experience to defeat Gonzaga. I think 5 rounds and championship experience will be the big difference here. I am not sure there is anything Randy can’t do.
Clay Guida vs. Marcus Aurelio: I will be watching this fight closely and take notes as I do all lightweight fights.
Kodiak MMA: Kenny, I’d like to thank you for making time for a Kodiak MMA (and a fellow BC alumnus), and I wish you the best of luck on September 19. Before we tap out, is there anything you’d like the Kodiak MMA readers to check out?
Kenny Florian: Check out KennyFlorian.com for news and updates, and say hello to me on myspace at myspace.com/kenflo. Thanks for the support, everyone!!