Outspoken UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy appeared recently on Submission Radio, ahead of his fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 205.
Last year Kennedy put his chances of returning at 50-50. He was making good money Hunting Hitler, and otherwise enjoying himself.
“I have so many of these opportunities right now,” he explained at the time. “If you want me to fight, you’ve got to give me a guy I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. Otherwise, it’s not worth it. I don’t need the money. I make way more money doing this stuff, and I don’t get brain damage traveling to some of the most beautiful places on the planet with a $2 million-per-episode budget trying to find a war criminal. It’s way more fun.”
“(My family) see that this is a blossoming career for me. And they say, ‘Please do that from now on. Please don’t get hit in the face anymore.’ And that’d be nice. No more guys not getting off stools or guys injecting themselves with whatever. No more drama.”
“I thought there was a really good chance that I was never gonna come back to this sport,” said Kennedy. “I don’t need MMA, I love fighting. Those are very different things. The sport has changed how lucrative it is for an athlete. As a business owner, as a guy that is making big-budget movies now, that is in movies, that is on television, I do not need the sport. With that said, I love fighting. So I was inclined to move on. My family definitely, my manager, my agent were all thrilled at the prospect of not having to do a fight camp, not having to deal with all of the drama that goes along with fighting, you know, in this sport and with this promotion. So I think it was just all the things lined up perfectly for me to wanna get in there at least one more time.”
“My family definitely, my manager, my agent were all thrilled at the prospect of not having to do a fight camp, not having to deal with all of the drama that goes along with fighting, you know, in this sport and with this promotion. So I think it was just all the things lined up perfectly for me to wanna get in there at least one more time.”
“There’s a really good chance that after this fight you’ll never see me again – well, in the octagon. I’m just getting started in my work outside of the Octagon, where you’re gonna probably see me a lot more. But after November 12th, when I beat Rashad if whoever the matchmaker is going to be in December for the 185 middleweight division, if they’re not talking about me being in the mix, about me as a potential match up against Michael Bisping for the title, then what’s the point? If I’m not gonna be in the mix for a title shot at this point in my career, where I have a win over the champion – what am I, like six and one in the last seven fights, with “knockout of the night”, “fight of the night” and my only loss was a super dumb controversial decision, I think we’ve got a lot of other things to do.”
“I’m excited to be on the prelims, if you can imagine that. Yeah, I’m gonna be on FOX. While a lot of people are gonna watch the pay-per-view, everybody that’s watching the pay-per-view is gonna see my fight and all the people that aren’t gonna buy the pay-per-view are gonna see my fight. So in the month of November, I’m going to be hosting and starring on the TV show Hunting Hitler, I’m gonna be on FOX, I’m hosting a TV show for CBS. I’m gonna be like on every major network that television has in the month of November. That’s fantastic for a career.
“Additionally, being able to fight on [UFC] 205 and the time of the night that I’m going to be fighting, is ideal for kind of the training schedule and regimen that I’ve been in for the past five, six months. That is really when I peak athletically during the day, it’s when I’ve been hitting my training sessions. So just the convenience of fighting at that particular time is great. Being on the prelims but in a specific position of the prelims, is really, really good, cause you’re kind of like in a sprinting baton hand-off. You’re the anchor, you’re the guy that – more people are gonna watch that fight than any fight of the night.
“So I am excited, and obviously fighting against Rashad. Rashad’s a great fighter, he’s a veteran, former champion, he is top-ten, a perennial contender in the light heavyweight division, Ultimate Fighter, a TV show champ winner and coming down to 185 for the first time and fighting me. We’ve trained (together) – I’m actually sitting as we’re talking in front of Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and this the place that I met him. This is the place where we trained together a few times. Not a lot, but a few times.
“So it’s like what he said, we’re not in the friend business, we’re in the fight business. I’ve never asked to fight a training partner, but he obviously has a few times, and so this will be fun to be able to fight somebody I’ve trained with previously and I think it’s a great match up.”
Evans has said he best Kennedy during training, yet another thing that Kennedy feels is in his favor.verything that happens in the training room is the training room. Luke
“Everything that happens in the training room is the training room,” said Kennedy. “Luke Rockold I think really summed it up. Like, when people step out of the training room and talk about how well they did in the training room, they’re not thinking about the fight, they’re looking back towards the past, and I’m looking forward towards the fight. I remember how he felt, I remember his strength, I remember his speed, and none of that matters. I’m in the preparation for myself, getting ready for UFC 205. And I think I’m faster, I think I’m stronger, I think I’m more durable, I honestly think my all-around kickboxing is better – he has some good footwork and some head movement and some tricky boxing. I think we’re kind of going to be
“I’m in the preparation for myself, getting ready for UFC 205. And I think I’m faster, I think I’m stronger, I think I’m more durable, I honestly think my all-around kickboxing is better – he has some good footwork and some head movement and some tricky boxing. I think we’re kind of going to be at a push in the wrestling department. I think he is a better collegiate-style wrestler, where I might be a better MMA wrestler. I don’t think he can take me down, so he’s going to have to be forced with either defending my takedowns or having to deal with, I think, a different type of striker that he’s ever seen – that is, a different striker in myself that he’s ever seen. I think November 12th is going to be a really, really good night for me.”
Kennedy also reflected on the middleweight division, with Michael Bisping at the top, the top four contenders fighting for the possible #1 spot, and The Count calling out GSP and Nick Diaz for money fights.
Evans is dropping down from light heavyweight, where he is ranked #8.
Champion: Michael Bisping
1 Luke Rockhold
2 Chris Weidman
3 Jacare Souza
4 Yoel Romero
5 Gegard Mousasi
6 Anderson Silva
7 Robert Whittaker
8 Derek Brunson
9 Vitor Belfort
10 Uriah Hall
11 Thales Leites
12 Tim Kennedy
13 Dan Henderson
14 Rafael Natal
15 Krzysztof Jotko
“The division’s a mess, man. It’s a disaster,” said Kennedy. “It’s anybody’s chance to get that next title fight and everybody wants it because, especially for me, Michael Bisping is the easiest fight in the division. The current champion of the division. If you go down that list, from Chris Weidman, to Jacare, to Luke Rockhold, Derek Brunson – that would be my number two, three, four and five right there.
“I don’t put Yoel Romero in there because I think he’s a cheater and he shouldn’t even be in the UFC. The Vitor Belforts, the Lyoto Machidas, they’re so past prime, those four guys would walk through them. Derek Brunson, even though he’s a dark horse and I don’t even know where he’s ranked right now – somewhere between seven and nine – he should be up in the top five. Trust me, I was just training with him here at Jackson’s, he should be up in the top five. It’s a mess.
“They’re talking about Nick Diaz coming back to the middleweight division and GSP, who has been out of this sport, maybe in retirement for the past few years, coming back and getting an automatic title shot. The division’s a mess, it’s anybody’s game. What I know is November 12th I’m gonna go fight Rashad, I’m gonna beat him in a very, very clear decisive fashion, and Michael Bisping, he has not wanted to utter my name for the past year. He’s been winning, and he might be calling out 47-year-old men that he has losses to, but who he’s not mentioning, is me – the guy that beat him up for 25 minutes.
“So if he wants to stand there and really be a champion, stop calling out dudes that have been retired for a few years, stop calling out a 47-year-old man. Why don’t you fight a guy that beat the brakes off of you and on November 12th at Madison Square Garden is going to make a huge statement in the division.”
“I want the title. Plain and simple.”
Tim Kennedy fights Rashad Evans at UFC 205 on November 12, 2016, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.