Tim’s Interviewed by Tapology.com
Below is an interview from Tapology.com. Find the original interview here>>
While many casual fans may still be unfamiliar with Tim Kennedy, after two impressive wins this year over Nick Thompson and Zak Cummings, respectively, the active National Guard Special Forces soldier is quickly establishing himself as the number one contender in Strikeforce’s middleweight division. Tapology’s Steven Kelliher recently caught up with Kennedy to discuss his latest performances, his thoughts on avenging a loss to Jason “Mayhem” Miller now that the two of them are fighting under the same banner once again, and how soon we can expect to see him fight for the middleweight belt.
Tapology: How do you balance being active in the military with fighting in MMA professionally?
Kennedy: I’m part of a National Guard unit, and being part of the National Guard they are able to make certain accommodations for my timeline. They have some expectations of me as far as who I teach, when I teach, how often I teach, but on the flip side, they are very understanding of my training schedule when I’m getting ready for a fight.
Tapology: Right now, are you able to train with the camp that you would normally train with for a fight?
Kennedy: Yeah, right now I am teaching and training at Team ROC in North Carolina, where I got ready for my fight against Zak Cummings. I’m going to be in Texas training with Guy Mezger and Travis Lutter in a couple of days.
Tapology: Why did you choose to serve in the military, and are you looking to make a serious run for a world title or is it just about competition at this point?
Kennedy: I was just fighting, felt like a selfish prick, and found out about a program to try out for Special Forces. I tried it and I made Special Forces, so that’s how I came in. I definitely plan on making a serious run for the middleweight title.
Tapology: I saw in an interview prior to your fight with Cummings that you felt you were behind some of the top fighters in your weight division in terms of overall technique? Can you explain that?
Kennedy: I feel like I’m playing catch-up. Since I’ve been out of the game for a while, I need to be the one with the work ethic that nobody can keep up with. I think it has positively affected my performances in the ring, because I’m pushing myself that much harder. In my mind I’m going to keep doing this until I have that belt around my waist, and then I’m just going to train harder so I can keep my belt.
Tapology: How do you feel about your wins over Thompson and Cummings? Thompson especially is a well-respected guy amongst hardcore fans.
Kennedy: Both of those fights I fought very conservatively. I didn’t take many risks, so I was really just looking to wear them down and pound them out. I think both of those wins were really big wins.
Tapology: Whom do you think you had more trouble against?
Kennedy: I kind of fought different fights against both of them. Against Thompson, I was looking to submit him and against Cummings, I was looking to knock him out, so it kind of went the opposite for each guy. I got a TKO over Thompson and I submitted Zak.
Tapology: You have only lost twice thus far in your career, against Scott Smith and Jason Miller. How do you feel about those losses now, and would you like to get those fights back since all three of you are in the Strikeforce promotion together now?
Kennedy: I’m not the kind of person that looks back, so I’m not concerned about avenging losses. I am excited about those two guys being with Strikeforce because I think it would be a good matchup and a good fight with either of them. The cut against Smith was a big cut. It was definitely a good stoppage. The fight against Miller—honestly—that was a terrible fight. I basically destroyed him for a round and a half, got a big cut on my nose, and for the rest of the fight I was scooping blood out of my eyes. That would be a fight I would look forward to getting again.
Tapology: You handled yourself well against Miller and now he is fighting for the middleweight belt in Strikeforce next month. Does it give you confidence on your way to the title knowing that you can hang with guys like him?
Kennedy: I would be very confident fighting him for a title.
Tapology: How do you feel about Jake Shields moving up in weight? How about him as a possible opponent?
Kennedy: I could never believe that he was fighting at 170lbs. He is a big guy. That would be another great fight. I am more excited about Jason because of our history, but I’m going to let the promotion figure out who I’m fighting next and when.
Tapology: About Strikeforce in general—are you happy with the way they are running their promotion and the direction they are headed right now?
Kennedy: I just want to go where the best fighters are, and right now I feel that the 185 pound weight class in Strikeforce has some really talented fighters, from Scott Smith, to Benji Radach, to Cung Le, who has kind of vacated right now. You’ve also got Shields, Nick Diaz, “Cyborg” [Santos], and some others as well. I don’t view the UFC as a step up right now. I’m happy with Strikeforce and I’m looking forward to getting some more fights.
Tapology: Are you excited about the possibility of getting a main card fight on CBS in the near future?
Kennedy: It would be great. Even when I just fought on Showtime, I had a bunch of soldiers email me and tell me that they watched my fight, so I wouldn’t say it is bigger than fighting on CBS, but it’s definitely up there. My priorities are a little bit different than most fighters. I don’t really care, as long as I’m still representing people I care about.
Tapology: How long would you like to fight in MMA? Is the military it for you, or would you really like to go into this full-bore?
Kennedy: I’m going to do it for a few years. I’m sure my wife and my body will put a time cap on it, but I think that my last two fights have shown that I’m here to play seriously. I’m already back to working out two to three times a day, and I can’t wait to get my next opponent so I can start prepping for him. I want to fight the best, so whether I’m in a uniform or not, I don’t think it affects how I perform in the ring.
Tapology: You just fought recently, but do you have any idea about a possible opponent for your next fight?
Kennedy: No, I really don’t. I’m hoping to be on a card in January or February, but I don’t have an opponent yet.
Tapology: My final question: where do you see yourself in relation to the title? How far away are you?
Kennedy: I don’t want to wait for the title. It’s more important for me to be fighting good guys, but I definitely see myself in the mix. I think one or two more good performances and I will definitely be that guy at the top.
Tapology: Thanks for the time, Tim.
Kennedy: Any time.