Kenny Florian is getting that itch back.
Just months after announcing a hiatus from MMA after a failed title run at featherweight, Florian is well on his way to returning to the Octagon. The 35-year-old is currently preparing for a return to the lightweight division -- a weight class he competed in from 2006-2010 -- and hopes to have an opponent scheduled by early next year.
While the 145-pound experiment was misguided in retrospect, Florian couldn't have imagined the damage the dramatic weight cut would have on his body.
"Dropping to the featherweight division was way too much for my body to handle," Florian said to Bleacher Report. "The Diego Nunes fight was the worst I've ever felt on a weigh-in day. Luckily, I felt better on fight day and was able to pull out a victory.
"But, against (Jose) Aldo it was a brutal weight cut, and I really didn't feel too great heading into the fight. In result, I had some medical issues I had to deal with. I had a thyroid issue that was based on the drastic weight loss."
Florian went on to lose to Aldo at UFC 136, marking his third failed title shot in as many opportunities. Afterward the veteran was visibly despondent in the post-fight press conference and appeared non-committal about his desire to continue competing. The following week Florian issued a statement that declared the fighter would "take some time" to "evaluate all of (his) options."
Now those troubled thoughts seem to have moved on, but the lingering scars of battle remain. Florian hopes to recover from a back injury sometime within the next two months, after which he will inform UFC officials of his availability. "K-Flo" doesn't have a specific opponent in mind as he returns to his old stomping grounds, but he hopes it'll be a "well-respected, top guy" that could vault him back into title contention.
In the meantime, it's just a matter of getting back into the daily grind and working to prepare his body for the oncoming storm. But the wily veteran wouldn't have it any other way.
"I feel as if I can do this for a few more years. I've never had a problem going to the gym. I love it to a fault," Florian concluded. "I think my career has a few more great years and fights left."