For a professional athlete, the only thing that could possibly be worse than getting labeled a quitter, is being dubbed a choker. UFC president Dana White tagged Kenny Florian (Pictured) with the moniker after his choke job in a lightweight top contender bout against Gray Maynard in August 2010.
White has never been one to mince words, and the brash promoter certainly wasn’t about to offer up any apologies for his blunt comments just days before Florian challenges Jose Aldo for his featherweight crown, either.
“Jose Aldo is a finisher,” White stated during Wednesday’s UFC 136 pre-fight press conference. “He comes in to either take your legs out or knock you out. He’s 100 percent the whole time he’s in there, and so is Kenny Florian.
“I’m not gonna get into … everybody knows what I’ve said about Kenny in title fights. I want to see Kenny prove me wrong on this one.”
“He’s one of the best fighters in the world, but in the big fights, he chokes in the big fights. He’s here in his hometown, another shot at title and he sits in front of Gray Maynard for three rounds. He couldn’t let anything go. Gray Maynard fought his fight, did what he wanted to do, and dominated him.”
Maynard collected a lopsided unanimous decision win that night, which prompted Florian to drop to the featherweight class. In addition to the egg he laid in the championship eliminator fight with Maynard, Florian is also 0-2 in UFC lightweight title bouts and lost in the finals of “The Ultimate Fighter 1” to Diego Sanchez.
The longtime Octagon veteran co-headlines UFC 136 opposite Aldo this Saturday inside the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Ironically, one of Houston’s unofficial nicknames is “Clutch City.”