BJPenn.Com Exclusive: Tim Kennedy Defends Greg Jackson and Talks About Brian Stann vs. Michael Bisping
Guys like Tim Kennedy are hard to come by, not only in mixed martial arts, but in life as well. He’s a world class athlete, an Army Green Beret and he has one of the best personalities in the sport. For those of you who have seen his hilarious Katy Perry impersonations you know what I’m talking about, for those of you who haven’t had the chance to watch them, I implore you to do so as soon as possible.
Kennedy was last seen fighting for the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship against Luke Rockhold in July. It was his second attempt at capturing the title and unfortunately he fell short for the second time. But Kennedy is a fighter, always has been and always will be. It won’t be long before his name is being considered as a potential contender for the title. In the meantime he is focused on winning fights and will be an interested observer on November 3rd when Rockhold defends against Lorenz Larkin.
“I always thought Larkin was really good and he went in and fought Robbie Lawler in his realm,” Kennedy told BJPenn.Com Radio. “I think he’s deserving of the shot as he’s really only had one blemish on his record and that came against King Mo which was eventually overturned because of Mo failing a drug test. He’s undefeated and had a lot of success at 205 despite the fact that he was too small. He demonstrates the tools that I think will give Rockhold a problem. He’s shown he has spry takedown defense and of Luke tries to exchange with Larkin it’ll be a really tough fight for him to win.”
The middleweight division in MMA has really grown by leaps and bounds over the past 12-18 months. There was a time when UFC Middleweight Champion was fighting guys like Patrick Cote and Thales Leites, now there are guys knocking on the door trying to get a shot at the Spider. The fan in Kennedy is looking forward to watching good friend Brian Stann face Michael Bisping at UFC 152 on September 29.
“I’ve never liked Bisping, I love martial artists that go out there to fight and don’t take any unfair advantages like taking steroids, kneeing people in the face or spitting towards their corner,” said Kennedy. “I just like clean fighters and Bisping has never been that. I’m really hoping that Brian knocks him out in a really ugly way. Brian is my friend, my teammate and he’s always been a super nice guy. You can’t help but root for him. I hope he wins, but it’ll be a tough fight for him. No one has ever gone in there and out boxed Bisping. The power goes to Brian, but the footwork, the reach and cage control goes to Bisping. It’s a tough fight and I’m excited to watch it.”
Two other top contenders just signed on to face one another at UFC 155 in December. Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch can each make a case for themselves by winning that fight, but that won’t stop the winner of Stann-Bisping from throwing their hat into the ring. Bisping has been barking up that tree for the longest time and the UFC could award it to him based upon his marketability alone.
“There so many awesome middleweight fights coming up. Brian and Michael have been knocking on the door to get a title shot for a long time. I think both of them pose a lot of problems for Silva, he’s fought so many grapplers of late and he hasn’t look that good against them. I love watching both Weidman and Boetsch fight and I’m bummed that they are fighting each other. I’m a fan of both of them and feel they are both so good. It’s who looks best in those two fights, I think all four of those guys deserve a title shot, but it comes down to who performs best in their respective fights.”
Having trained at Greg Jackson’s gym, one can expect Kennedy to stand-up for the maligned coach. Kennedy got real emotional when asked about the recent criticism levied at Jackson by UFC President Dana White. It’s not just White who has thrown Jackson under the bus, fans all over the world have shown an utter disdain for Jackson even before UFC 151 was canceled.
“It’s pathetic, I think it’s sad and unfounded,” offered Kennedy. “I don’t know if it’s because the team has been so successful and people are looking for an excuse to attack him, but every single one of their arguments is unfounded and juvenile. Jones gets offered a fight on a couple of days notice after Dan Henderson gets hurt and it’s somehow Jones fault or Jackson’s fault because he said you shouldn’t fight a guy who is coming off of a loss. Stylistically it’s tough and something you have to prepare for, but somehow it’s Greg’s fault because he coaches people to be boring. His fighters have more fight of the night and knockout of the night bonuses than any other coach out there.”
“It’s sad and I don’t understand the emotional response people have, they are so passionate about hating him and he’s the nicest guy in the world. Mike Winklejohn is the coolest guy on the planet and it’s sad at how people want to throw stones at them. So little of the blame should be placed on Jon and Greg, this is MMA and injuries are bound to happen. If anything the blame should be put on my boss and that fight card. Except for the main event it was an exceptionally poor and weak card, there weren’t any other fights that I cared about. I love the fighters and I care about them, but there wasn’t any other marquee fights on there. The main event goes away and the event gets canceled. That’s not Dan or Jon’s fault; it comes down to poor matchmaking.”
Kennedy feels he knows what has stopped him from winning the title he covets so much. He’s prepared to make the necessary changes in order to get an elusive third shot at the 185lb. title. He’s well aware that title shots don’t come every easily, especially for someone who has already had two of them.
“I don’t want to sound conceited, but I’m at the point where I don’t think anyone is going to knock me down or submit me,” Kennedy said confidently. “I’ve been so wrapped up in going out there to win that belt that I forgot that I’m out there to fight. I went back to the old school and I’m back to being a fighter. I’m training like a fighter and my fights aren’t to go out there and to step in to the cage and fight. I’m going out there to knock a dude out or choke him out. Out of all my losses, except for one loss because of a cut, they all went to the judges. There is no one else to blame but me. It’s my fault for going out there any maybe being too scared to leave it all in the cage. I’m fighting on the November 3rd card, but I can’t announce who my opponent is, but I’m going out there to fight. I need to make some waves to get a third title shot because that doesn’t happen too often.”
A soldier at heart in and out of the cage, Kennedy spends a lot of his free time working with various charities. He told us about two of them that are near and dear to his heart. These guys form a brotherhood and a bond like that will last a lifetime.
“The two groups I work the most with are the Green Beret Foundation, I’m a Green Beret, have been and always will be,” said Kennedy proudly. “It’s a very special community that is very close to my heart. We incur more injuries in ratio compared to any other MOS in the military. We’ve been in a war for 11 years and it’s been a tough go. Soldiers Angels is another organization that I do a lot of work for. Both organizations love help and anything you can do for them is greatly appreciated. You can send them care packages, talk to a soldier or even cook a meal for them. Just showing your appreciation will help these guys out in a big way.”