Tim Kennedy’s desire to fight Michael Bisping isn’t a secret. A back-and-forth twitter feud, childish name calling, and a fictitious fight contract will attest to his insatiable need to face ‘The Count.’
Fortunately for Kennedy, their war of words finally heads to the Octagon on April 16 when he and Bisping headline The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia finale. The fight hasn’t officially been announced, but that didn’t stop Kennedy from taking to twitter over the weekend.
The long-awaited battle hinges on whether Bisping is medically cleared to compete. Prior to his UFC Fight Night 30 match with Mark Munoz last November, he suffered a detached retina that required surgery and threatened his career. Bisping profusely apologized to his fans and vowed to make a comeback.
To this point, Bisping has downplayed Kennedy’s taunts. “He’s had three fights in the UFC against no marks, and he didn’t even look that good in those fights,” Bisping said at a UFC Fight Night 33 Q&A last month. “He’s been calling me out for years, and at the start I didn’t want to respond to any of his tweets because it’s giving him what he wants, he’s trying to create a buzz about himself.”
The “no marks” Bisping refers to are victories over Roger Gracie and Rafael Natal, respectively. Kennedy (17-4) consistently battled for the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship before the promotion merged with the UFC. Last Thursday, Kennedy met with UFC President Dana White and verbally agreed to a new contract with the stipulation that he face Bisping.
For Bisping (24-5), this will be his first match since a unanimous decision victory over Alan Belcher last April. He inadvertently poked Belcher in the eye, leaving Belcher unable to compete. A year-long hiatus coupled with months spent recovering from his eye surgery may leave Bisping with some ring rust heading into this heated battle.
TUF: Nations finale will be held in Quebec City, although a venue has yet to be confirmed. TUF coaches Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke expect to face off in the co-main event, but that could change if doctors don’t give Bisping the green light.
For coverage on TUF Nations visit SciFighting.com