Kenny Florian: “I started MMA thanks to Jiu-Jitsu”

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Mario Delgado and Kenny Florian. Photos: Personal archives.

Kenny Florian was in Mexico on October 9. There, the black belt stopped by the Renzo Gracie academy led by our GMA Mario Delgado. Delgado’s team often receives UFC fighters, like Cain Velasquez, and Florian was kind enough to teach some techniques, on his visit.

“He demonstrated a lot of combinations of takedowns to back mount for the finish, his specialty, as he has six wins by rear-naked choke in the UFC,” remarks Mario Delgado, who later spent a few days with Kenny in Acapulco.

Delgado also was the intermediary between former UFC title challenger Kenny and for this interview:

You are a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. What is Jiu-Jitsu’s importance in your MMA performance.

It’s a really important part. Everyone has to have a solid level of Jiu-Jitsu to be successful in MMA. It also happens that Jiu-Jitsu is the reason I got started in Jiu-Jitsu.

Kenny, in black shirt, with folks at Renzo Gracie Mexico.

Do you train in the gi a lot?

These days I don’t train in the gi that much, I just do it for recreation. But I got my background in the gi and, up until brown belt, I’d compete at the Worlds and Pans in the USA.

So you don’t feel it’s a good idea to wear the gi when training for MMA?

I don’t feel the gi is good for MMA, but it’s an important part of my Jiu-Jitsu background. If I hadn’t trained in the gi, my Jiu-Jitsu wouldn’t be as good as it is now. It’s the foundation for my game and the reason I have so many MMA submission wins (nine).

Check out a guillotine technique taught by Florian:

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