Polar opposites come together in the Octagon
Florian-Huerta headlines UFC 87 Aug. 9
Story by Anthony Springer Jr
Photos: Chris Cozzone
In terms of personality, Kenny “Ken Flo” Florian and Roger “El Matador” Huerta are polar opposites. Florian exudes quiet confidence while Huerta’s confidence is often mistaken for arrogance.
Despite personality differences, the two men share some similarities. Both have impressive records in the Octagon and both are vying for the number one contender slot in the UFC’s lightweight division. The score will be settled August 9 in Minneapolis at UFC 87.
The three-round bout has been heavily anticipated since it was announced, and given the histories of the two men, could end up being one of the most exciting and talked about match ups of the year. With UFC 87 just two weeks away, all previous trash talk has subsided, revealing two fighters with great respect for each other.
“I consider Roger at the top of the weight class,” Florian says of Huerta. “He’s been tearing through competitors and popularity-wise, we’re at the top. In my opinion, it was the best fight you could put together in this weight class. I’m in the UFC to fight the best, and I consider Roger one of the best.”
Huerta, who boasts and unblemished record in UFC combat, is viewing this match as though it were a championship fight.
“I respect Kenny and I think he’s one of the best competitors there is,” says Huerta. “He’s one of those guys you have to bring your ‘A’ game for.”
El Matador also revealed that superior cardio fueled his confidence going into matches.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, knowing you can go 100 miles an hour and not feel down and your opponent will eventually slow down. It’s amazing. For me, it’s one of my best assets.”
While Huerta has excellent cardio, don’t look for Florian—who has gone the distance five times, including a five round loss with cardio machine Sean Sherk—to gas out during the fight.
Huerta may bring a significant strength advantage into the fight, due to training with UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. “It’s been amazing,” he says of the champ. “St. Pierre is a superior athlete. Going against a guy like that day in and day out is interesting because it’s grueling. You’ve gotta be on top of your game with that guy.”
With both fighters being excellent standing and on the ground, Florian’s wild card may be what Joe Rogan calls his “razor sharp” elbows—which opened up several nasty cuts on Joe Lauzon’s head. On paper, both fighters are evenly matched—and both are aware of that fact; don’t look for Ken Flo to overlook the Matador.
“He’s a guy that’s really well rounded. With Roger, you get the full package, someone who works hard and has cardio. He trains like a professional so he’s coming in shape. I consider everything a threat. I’m training really hard for this.
“I expect a war.”
So do the fans.