It hardly seemed possible, but the upcoming lightweight clash between
Originally billed as the top match on the card because of the fighers' talent, the bout could now easily be labeled the "Company Man vs. The Rabble-rousing Moaner." (And just for good measure, it has all the makings of "Fight of the Night" on Saturday.)
Huerta made waves last week when he voiced his dissatisfaction with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, claiming he wasn't receiving enough money or respect -- increasingly common grievances from the promotion's fighters.
But Florian, who has been in the organization longer and fighting tougher opponents at a lesser cost than many of his counterparts, doesn't see it.
"The UFC has always taken real good care of me and I'm very happy to be where I am," he said. "I was fighting in worse conditions than Roger probably was, or is, when I first came into the UFC with my original
And that's precisely what Florian has done. After being overwhelmed by a bigger, more experienced
Florian's climb to the top of his class has been slow and sometimes very quiet -- a stark contrast to Huerta's meteoric rise. "El Matador" became the first MMA fighter to appear on the cover of
"Roger Huerta's a guy who's been reading the headlines a little too much," said UFC President
But the conundrum is a monster the UFC has created for itself. It doesn't have any problem promoting a guy as a superstar (no matter if he's earned it) as long as he doesn't start asking for the money of a superstar.
And so, perhaps, it's fitting that the next test standing in Huerta's way is the affable Florian, who, on paper, doesn't seem so impressive.
He only has 12 fights to Huerta's 22.
He fought for the title once -- and lost.
He hasn't gotten a great promotional push from the UFC.
And he looks more like a stockbroker than a pro fighter. But his ever-expanding repertoire and his workman-like approach have helped him evolve with the sport.
"Every time I approach a fight, there are times when I know that I can push the pace and this guy's going to gas," Florian said. "With the [
If Florian can pull out a win Saturday, his reward will likely be a title shot. That is, assuming