“I’d like to thank Jose Aldo for giving me the opportunity to compete for the featherweight title last Saturday. I gave the fight my all, but Jose won that night. I would also like to thank the UFC, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta for their continued support… Everyone is asking what is next for me. The only response I can give right now is that I’m going to take some time. I want to rest, spend some time with my family and friends, and then evaluate all of my options. I’ll speak with (UFC President) Dana (White), and my manager, Glenn Robinson, and we will figure out my next move. When I make that decision, my fans will be the first to know. One way or another, you haven’t seen the last of Ken-Flo!”

— Kenny Florian declaring in an official statement that he’s going to take some time off before deciding his future

Man, you got to feel for Kenny Florian. He’s such a good guy and he’s come so close so many times to winning a championship, but just can’t get over that final hump. I imagine that finding the motivation to continue such a demanding career when you know the chance of realizing your dream has shrunk immensely would be very difficult. I’m sure Kenny’s wrestling with those very emotions as we speak.

Whether he decides to forge ahead or utilize his talents outside the cage, he should hold his head high knowing he has had a hell of a run that thousands of struggling fighters will only dream of. Champion or not, he will always be one of the sport’s true success stories.

Image via Esther Lin for MMA Fighting