Tim Kennedy Says Fight with Vitor Belfort Is Off

John HeinisSenior Analyst IJuly 30, 2013

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Tim Kennedy and Roger Gracie during their Middleweight Bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Former two-time Strikeforce middleweight title challenger Tim Kennedy will not be fighting a top-three competitor this fall after all. 

Kennedy tweeted the news earlier today: 

The fight against @vitorbelfort never materialized. I want to thank for @danawhite and @lorenzofertitta it was an honor to be considered.

— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) July 30, 2013

The fight seemed to be close to a done deal after UFC president Dana White told Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting.com the fight was in the works for an upcoming card in Brazil, with Kennedy later voicing his excitement about the matchup.  

However, a shadow of doubt was cast over the bout this weekend after Belfort's wife/manager, Joana Prado, told Globo.com that her husband was only fighting at 185 pounds if it was for the title (via MMA Junkie).  

Additionally, on this evening's edition of UFC Tonight, Prado said Kennedy vs. Belfort "doesn't make sense" and that she would prefer a grudge match with Chael Sonnen instead.  

While Kennedy is often ranked outside the middleweight division's top 10, like Belfort, he has won four of his past five bouts and hasn't lost a non-title fight since December 2007. 

While "The Phenom" suffered an embarrassing loss to then-divisional kingpin Anderson Silva at UFC 126 in February 2011, he has bounced back with three vicious knockouts at 185 pounds. 

His most recent stoppages were headkick KOs of perennial UFC contender Michael Bisping and former Strikeforce titleholder Luke Rockhold.

The middleweight division remains in a bit of a logjam for the rest of the year, because newly crowned champion Chris Weidman, who captured the strap at UFC 162 earlier this month, doesn't meet Silva again until UFC 168 on December 28.  

What matchups make sense for Kennedy and Belfort, respectively, heading forward?


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for eDraft.com.