Mixed Martial Arts
Timothy Fred Kennedy (born September 1, 1979) is an American professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the UFC’s Middleweight division. He also formerly competed for Strikeforce, the WEC, ShoMMA, HDNet Fights, and represented the Chicago Red Bears in the IFL. Kennedy is one of the few fighters to simultaneously serve full-time in the United States Army, while also fighting professionally. As of September 22, 2016, he is #13 in official UFC middleweight rankings.
Kennedy began training at Dokan School of Martial Arts in Atascadero, California under Terry Kelly, and Barry Smith. He began his MMA training in 1999, training with Chuck Liddell, Jake Shields, Gan McGee, and John Hackleman at The Pit in San Luis Obispo. Kennedy first started fighting in 1996 and had 31 amateur fights, amassing a record of 30-1 before his first professional fight in 2001. In 2003 he entered and won a one-night tournament at Extreme Challenge 50, winning all three of his fights. In 2004 he joined the Army. Kennedy only fought once in 2006. He then fought for the now defunct International Fight League in 2007, and did not fight in 2008 due to Army deployments overseas.
Kennedy returned to mixed martial arts in 2009 with a win over Nick Thompson at Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg in Kent, Washington. He followed this up with an impressive win over Zak Cummings in the main event of ShoMMA 3. Kennedy fought Trevor Prangley on June 16, 2010 at Strikeforce: Los Angeles. Kennedy won the fight via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in the first round. Since his move to Austin, Texas, Tim has been training at Competitive Training Center and with BJJ black belt Phil Cardella at the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Austin Association.
Kennedy lost a 5-round decision to Ronaldo Souza for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship at Strikeforce: Houston on August 21, 2010. He was expected to face Jason Miller again on March 5, 2011 at Strikeforce 32. However, Miller was forced out of the bout with an injury and was replaced by Melvin Manhoef, Who Kennedy defeated via submission in the first round. Kennedy returned in July 2011 to face Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. He won the bout via unanimous decision. Nearly a year later Kennedy faced Luke Rockhold on July 14, 2012 for the Strikeforce Middleweight championship at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy, and lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Kennedy was expected to face Trevor Smith on November 3, 2012 at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir. However, the event was cancelled due to injuries to headliner Frank Mir, as well to co-headliner and middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. The bout eventually took place on January 12, 2013 at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine. Kennedy won via submission in the third round.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
In January 2013, the Strikeforce organization was closed by its parent company Zuffa. A list of fighters scheduled to be brought over to the Ultimate Fighting Championship was released in mid-January and Kennedy was one of the fighters listed. Kennedy faced Roger Gracie on July 6, 2013 at UFC 162, he defeated Gracie via unanimous decision after defending Gracie’s submission attempts and standing up with Gracie, out striking him.
Kennedy was expected to face Lyoto Machida on November 6, 2013 at UFC Fight For The Troops 3. However, Machida was pulled from the bout in favor of a matchup with Mark Muñoz on October 26, 2013 at UFC Fight Night 30, after Muñoz’s original opponent, Michael Bisping was forced out of their bout with an injury. Kennedy instead faced Rafael Natal in the event headliner. He won the fight via knockout in the first round. The win also earned him his first Knockout of the Night bonus award. For his third fight with the promotion, Kennedy faced Michael Bisping on April 16, 2014 at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Kennedy faced Yoel Romero on September 27, 2014 at UFC 178. He lost the fight via TKO in the third round. Kennedy nearly finished Romero in the final seconds of the second round who was eventually saved by the bell. Yoel Romero, his cornermen, the referee and the UFC cutman have all been criticized for their actions resulting in a 28 second delay after the bell rang for the third round. Despite the loss, Kennedy earned a Fight of the Night bonus award.