The MMA community may view UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport but none of the buzz surrounding the Brazilian has top 145-pound contender Kenny Florian sweating more than he normally would in training sessions.

Florian recently addressed the praise that’s been heaped upon Aldo thus far, and, while he certainly respects the 25-year old title-holder, he’s not intimidated by others’ assessments of what lies in store for him this weekend in Houston.

“I don’t care if Aldo is the #3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. All that stuff means absolutely nothing to me right now and it will mean even less when we both step into the Octagon on Saturday at UFC 136,” wrote Florian on his latest ESPN blog. “Nobody will remember any of that talk when the bell sounds and we step toward each other. It will just be him and me in the cage and all else will be forgotten. He can’t bring his belt, his ranking or his fans with him at that moment. It will just be my skills against his, and may the best man win.”

Still, while the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finalist may not concern himself with the opinions of others, he still has a great deal of admiration for Aldo. In fact, though Florian has fought a number of high-caliber opponents in the past including B.J. Penn he still sees Aldo as his biggest professional challenge to date.

“All things considered, I definitely think that Aldo is going to be the most difficult test of my career. His speed, movement and explosiveness will be streets ahead of anything I have seen in the cage so far in my career,” Florian explained. “I know that, I anticipate that, and I am able to deal with the reality of the situation. I am not going into this fight underestimating the current featherweight champion. That would be a foolish thing to do. He’s a very, very dangerous fighter right now.

“However, I now feel I am experienced and mature enough now to test him like nobody else has been able to,” he continued. “I think I can ask him serious questions in all ranges of combat. I’m not going to be intimidated by his title or his reputation, as I’ve seen it all before. I’ve watched him fight, I’ve studied him and I know exactly what he can and can’t do. I know he’s a tremendous fighter with great qualities, so nothing will surprise me on Saturday night. I am prepared for it all. I’ve been there before, I’ve been in big fights, and I don’t feel Aldo has fought anybody like me before. I don’t think he has been put up against anybody as strong and well-rounded as I am.

Whether or not Florian’s words will ring true this weekend remains to be seen. However, his credentials are unquestionable with victories over a number of larger, comparably skilled individuals such as Roger Huerta, Joe Lauzon, Sam Stout, and Clay Guida.

Fans can catch Florian vs. Aldo as part of the UFC 136 main card when action fires up on PPV starting at 9:00 PM EST.


MMATraining Take: I like Florian and wouldn’t mind seeing him take home the gold after all he’s done for the UFC since TUF 1. He’s a great representative for MMA in general and an asset to the sport. That being said, I’m still fairly certain Aldo will smoke him in the long run as I don’t see “Ken Flo” holding up well against the phenomenal champ’s striking attack nor do I see Florian submitting him in return.