UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy scored a unanimous decision win over top 10 mainstay Michael Bisping at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale, and got himself one step closer to a title shot in the process. The win over ‘The Count’ extended Kennedy’s streak to four, and will likely see the ranger fighting a big name in his next outing.
Currently sporting an 18-4 professional record, and having recent wins over Rafael Natal, Bisping and Roger Gracie; Kennedy spoke to Joe Rogan (via MMAFighting) to discuss his future in the UFC:
"I think I'm close, either. The next fight, whoever Joe Silva gives me. If it's Vitor Belfort, [Ronaldo Souza], that puts me right there. I'm No. 6. [If] I beat a No. 2-3 guy, that's a title fight. I'll be 4-0 in the UFC just beating a title eliminator. My last two fights have been five-round main events. I'm potentially one fight away.”
Kennedy finds himself in a division that has a lot of tough contenders, and he may be a little off-point with his assessment of being one fight away. Another route that could be possible for T-Ken is a drop in weight to 170 pounds, as Kennedy then outlined:
"You have 155, 170, 185 and 205. You have four weight classes from 155 to 205. That's crazy. I think I'd have to be faster at 170. Watching these guys whoosh all over the place. I'm 5-foot-11. I have a 73-inch reach. There's no way I can hang with the 205ers that have 86-inch reaches that are 6-foot-4. I might be as strong as they are, but as Brian Stann calls me, I'm like a squat little hobbit. Angry hobbit, sometimes troll.”
So Kennedy seems open to a potential move to 170, but the benefits would be merely physical at this stage. Trying to crack in to the top 10 at welterweight, coming down a division could be a near impossible task, especially with how crowded the top five is right now. So who should be next for Kennedy?
"Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi are fighting. Could I potentially be fighting the winner of that fight? That's definitely in the realm, too. If that's the case maybe I am two fights away. If I cut down to 170 I don't think they'd let me fight for the title. I'd still be one fight away. Maybe two. So no, I don't think I'd be any closer."
There are plent of interesting rematches for TK to consider, Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ de Souza are two that spring to mind. Kennedy dropped decisions to both men during his Strikeforce tenure, both five round battles for the middleweight belt. How do you feel, is Kennedy one fight away, or is the ranger jumping the gun?