Tim Kennedy hasn’t set foot into the UFC’s octagon in almost three years after a controversial TKO loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 178. Now on the verge of UFC 205 at the historic Madison Square Garden, the Strikeforce and UFC veteran explained the reason of his return to MMA on Monday’s edition of ‘The MMA Hour’.
When asked why he’s coming back now after such a long layoff, Kennedy (18-5) discussed the new-found significance of his victory over newly-minted middleweight champion Michael Bisping and how his return to the UFC came about:
“Michael Bisping won the title, that was the biggest reason for me. Seeing Bisping win the title, I was like ‘no way can this guy can be the champion.’
I love fighting, even when I’m 65 and I’ll be out of the fighting game for 25 years, I’ll still miss it. And of course the competitor in me wants to test my will and desire to get back in there and see how I am as an athlete. I enjoy fighting and love training, even when I’m not fighting, I still train two times a day, six days a week.”
“I wouldn’t have come back for anything less than a huge fight, fighting Rashad, a former champ, his first fight a 185 pounds, that’s huge. And for it to be at Madison Square Garden for the first event in New York. That’s just too good to pass up.”
The military veteran has pursued other ventures since the loss to Romero, who he nearly knocked out before “stool-gate” occurred. Romero was very slow to get off his stool coming into the third round, leading many to believe the gassed out Romero was taking advantage of his time spent catching his breath. Prior to the loss to ‘Soldier of God’, Kennedy had rattled off three wins in a row in the octagon, with a knockout of the night over Rafael Natal and a unanimous decision win over the aforementioned Bisping.
With the current landscape of the middleweight division, Kennedy’s return could prove to shake things up in the 185 pound weight class. A win over Rashad Evans, a former light heavyweight champion who will be debuting at middleweight against Kennedy, would certainly put him back into the mix for title contention.
How do you see Kennedy’s return fight against Rashad Evans going? Will Kennedy pick up a huge win over a former champ, or will Evans gain some traction in a new weight class? Sound off, PENN Nation!