Military man and veteran of UFC and Strikeforce organizations, Tim Kennedy has competed against some of the very best middleweights in the world, and beaten many of them. He holds wins over former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, as well as Melvin Manhoef, Rafael Natal and Roger Gracie.
Earlier this year Kennedy, 18-6, announced both his retirement from MMA and his desire to re-enlist with the US Army’s Special Forces unit. So, with a ton of cage and life experience, Kennedy was the ideal man to answer the questions of Fighters Only contributor Tony Reid.
Question: What first inspired you to fight?
Tim Kennedy: To be a world champion. There are three motivations in fighting that are legitimate and anybody that has any reasons other than these three shouldn’t be in the sport. One is to be the best in the world. You want to go out and demonstrate that you are the best fighter on the planet. Two, you just love fighting. I respect both of those choices very much. Three is being a martial artist and wanting to prove to yourself and to your martial art that what you have done is right. There are a lot of other reason to fight, but those are the three legitimate reasons.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your first fight?
TK: I lost my first fight. Actually, my first street fight as well. What I took away from the street fight was that broken beer bottles on your head are cold and blood is warm. The yin and the yang, the contrast of light and dark, good and bad, salt and pepper.
Q: What was the best moment in your career?
Three things that all happened at the same time. Seeing my friend Nick jump up after I knocked out Natal, and seconds before hearing my coaches scream for me to do something after the crowd stopped cheering “Ranger Up”. It was a perfect sequence where they stopped cheering, I heard my coaches, did what they said, executed it, and then saw my friend jump up and start losing his mind. And then I was able to spend the rest of the night with the troops.
Q: What makes MMA better than other sports?
TK: It is unlike all other sports. The limitations that exist in all other sports… you have to hit a ball through a goal, or shoot a puck across the ice, or take a pigskin and cross a certain white line. All the parameters around these other sports that facilitate them to make them happen. This (MMA) is two people stepping into a cage and one gets their hand raised at the end for beating the other person and all they have to use to do it is their body.
Q: What feels better, a knockout or submission victory?
TK: A submission from punches and I have a lot of those. Seriously, it’s so demoralizing that I owned a person so much that they actually tap and quit due to punches.
Q: Who has been your best opponent?
TK: There are fights I have had in the gym that have been very tough. Thank God I don’t have to fight Jon Jones… ever. Carlos Condit as well. Everything on him hurts. His knees, his collar bone, everything hurts. In the cage I would have to say Robbie (Lawler), though.
Q: What was your favorite job before becoming a fighter?
TK: Maiming bad people.
Q: If you could invite three people to dinner, who would you choose?
TK: Kanye West, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian. I just saved the entire next generation in one meal.
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
TK: Video games, pretzels and Nutella all at the same time.
Q: What’s the best lesson life has handed you?
TK: Work hard.