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Kenny Florian: 'I'm Very Passionate About Supporting the Military'

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Kenny Florian is a busy man.

The UFC lightweight, who's less than three weeks removed from his main event loss at UFC 101, is spending this weekend at ESPN's headquarters to serve as the expert analyst for UFC 102. But he's also taking a day trip this weekend to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he'll visit injured troops.

"I'm just going to be visiting the troops, all the injured soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq," Florian told me. "I'm very passionate about supporting the military, have been for a while and it's something I feel very strongly about continuing to do."

This will be Florian's first visit to Walter Reed, but he's visited American soldiers elsewhere, including spending a few weeks at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and spending time with American soldiers in Qatar.

"I found a lot of inspiration in what these guys were doing," Florian said. "It's very important for me to do things like this. I get a lot out of meeting these people who are serving our country."

Florian said one of the most enjoyable aspects of getting to know members of the American military is finding out how much they love the sport of MMA.

"Some of the guys, I think they know more I do," Florian said. "They were telling me all about my fights. They are some of our most educated and passionate MMA fans. When they're abroad that's one of their favorite things to do, wake up at 5 a.m. to see the shows that the UFC streams live to them. They know the fighters, they know the techniques, they're very knowledgeable."

Florian said soldiers often ask him to teach them techniques, and that he's always happy to do that -- but he sees the visits as more an opportunity to lean from the members of the military than for them to learn from him.

"I've done some MMA and jiu jitsu seminars, I've trained with special forces and the troops over there," Florian said. "Visiting the soldiers overseas is a great opportunity to train with the troops, and for me it's great to learn just a little bit of what they do."

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