The Tens: Ten Reasons To Watch Tim Kennedy At Strikeforce: Columbus
No matter how you feel about war, it’s hard not to cheer for service members who engage in combat sports–unless you have no soul. You may not know Tim Kennedy just yet, but his plans to put on a show against feared striker Melvin Manhoef tomorrow night at Strikeforce: Columbus will change all that. Danny Acosta gives you ten reasons why you need to be in front of the TV tomorrow–straight from the mouth of the Ranger himself.
Fighter: Tim Kennedy
Record: 12-3 (3-1 Strikeforce)
Camps: Greg Jackson’s MMA, Albuquerque, NM/Austin Muay Thai, Phil Cardella Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Austin, TX
Weight: Middleweight (185-pounds)
Best Win/Toughest Loss: Submitting Nick “The Goat” Thompson with punches at Strikeforce Challengers 2 in June 2009; Unanimous decision loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at Strikeforce: Houston in August 2010.
Opponent: Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef (24-8-1; 0-1 Strikeforce)
Stage: Saturday, March 5, Strikeforce: Columbus at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH on Showtime 10p.m. ET/PST
1) An Army Special Forces colonel demands a Kennedy victory after seeing a photo of Manhoef.
’Is that guy wearing a dog collar?’
‘So you’re fighting a guy that wears a dog collar?’
‘If you lose to this guy, you can’t be part of Special Forces anymore, you know that right?’
‘Eh, I think I’ll be okay.”
2) Six months of studying tape helps.
“When I fought with Jacare, I was able to have 25 minutes of material where I could say, oh man there’s a lot of stuff I needed to work on. After that fight, it gave me a lot of time to be really specific on what I needed to train.”
3) A promise to KO a fearsome K-1 kickboxer like Manhoef.
“There’s a lot of different ways to knock someone out: you can pick them up and slam them, you can punch them in the head and bounce them off the canvas, you can head kick them and knee them. I’m really confident in my striking right now. I’ve been working on it non-stop for 6 months. But I’m an MMA guy. My takedowns are just as good as they were. My jiu-jitsu is solid as it was. I’m definitely not going to be shying away from an opportunity to knock him out.”
4) Improvement as a full-time fighter after years splitting time between the military and MMA.
“The fluidity that Greg Jackson gives guys—what is so natural is putting everything together. There’s some really great striking schools. There’s some really great jiu-jitsu guys out there. There’s some great wrestlers. From those camps, the guys that they make, the fighters that come out of those places, they’re really good at those things, but no place like Greg Jackson’s do guys come out with putting everything together. That’s what I’ve really improved on I feel.”
5) Designs of disposing Manhoef to kick start win-streak.
“I wanna win this fight. Give me a little bit of time—by a little bit of time, I mean a couple of weeks. Then give me another date. Don’t shelve me. ‘Hey, that was a great fight, we’ll let you know when the next card is coming up…at the end of the year.’ I’ll lose my mind. I left active duty so I can fight. I need to fight. I would like to have 3 to 4 fights in 2011. I’m already off to a late start, so let’s get me out there.”
6) Fighting is fighting, regardless of weight or titles.
“I want to fight the natural route to the Strikeforce championship, but I also want to fight guys top-10 in the world. Robbie Lawler is always up there—he’s on my short radar. I’d love to get in there right away with him. There’s some legends I kinda want to fight. I don’t know if Henderson’s staying at 205 or if he’s coming back to 185, there are some big fights out there…
“I was offered a couple different fights at 205 [before Manhoef], both of which I said yes to (Kennedy declined to state who he was offered). I’m willing to take those fights, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be given them or they’ll take me. I’m too small to be competitive at the highest level at 205. In Albuquerque, guys like Rashad [Evans] and Jon Jones, they’re too big for me…my reach is too short, my height is not tall enough to be competitive at 205.”
7) Potential for a “double sweet” rematch with ‘Jacare.’
“I would love to fight him again, but that whole ‘Jacare’ fight is behind me…If I got to fight him for the title again, that’d be double sweet. But I’m not looking toward him or back at that fight, I’m just looking forward for the next one.”
8) Tim Kennedy is a killer in the cage and in the kitchen.
“I prepare three-quarters of my meals myself. I cook a lot ahead of time. I cooked stuffed bell peppers a couple of nights ago. I finished my last one this morning. That gave me like three different meals. Cook an egg white, put it on top of my bell pepper when I got back my workout, which has ground turkey on it…and aged cheddar. I get back from my workout—bam! There’s this stuffed bell pepper, put an on egg on it, there’s my delicious post-workout breakfast. It’s [singing] fantastic.”
9) The goal in MMA? Retire Strikeforce champion to return to the military full-time.
“Even though I’m very successful as an MMA fighter, the most important thing to me is the time that I’ve served…My MMA clock, the biological clock that is how long I’m going to be fighting is only a few years. I know with the experience I have in the no-gi, in deployments, and the schools that I’ve been to, it makes me a great asset to give back to the community. When I’m done fighting, I’m looking forward to the day where I can hand that Strikeforce belt back to Scott Coker and be like, ‘Hey again, thanks for the ride as your champion. But I have to go back and do some real work. I’m done fighting. Now I’m gonna go back and do some real fighting.”
10) A Kennedy win can bring Strikeforce on Showtime to an Army base near you.
“We’re already talking about it. I can’t give you any details, but we’re having a meeting in Ohio specifically about that. I know Strikeforce has done great things for the soldiers, but there’s huge opportunities, like being on an aircraft carrier, doing a fight overseas in Afghanistan. There’s potential there for some exciting stuff and I think we’re gonna make that happen.”
Danny Acosta is the lead writer at FIGHT! Magazine. Contact him on twitter.com/acostaislegend.