This Saturday night, Tim Kennedy will be stepping in to the cage for the first time since he lost to Jacare Souza for the vacant middleweight title. While he ended up falling short in his first title shot in the promotion, Kennedy has a positive take away from the fight.
"The fight was 25 minutes. It was cumulatively almost longer than all the other fights in my career" .
"I have a lot of stuff to work on. The coaches saw a lot of stuff they wanted me to drill. My take away was a bunch of stuff I need to work on. The fight is totally behind me. I'm excited about this next fight and what is going to happen after that."
Before it was announced that he was going to be squaring off against Melvin Manhoef on March 5, rumors were running rampant all over the internet that Kennedy would be facing off against Jason "Mayhem" Miller. However, the fight never came to fruition.
"We would put on one heck of a show. Both of our first fights were knockout drag-outs.
"I really want to go out there and beat Jason up. He's an awesome dude, an awesome fighter and a really exciting [fighter]. The interest isn't to finish a trilogy, or to settle unfinished business, or we have a feud [because] we don't. But we both know we put on exciting fights and us getting back in the cage together would probably be a fight of the year type fight."
Tim then went on to explain exactly how the fight fell through.
"We were both asked if we would fight each other and we both said yes. But that's only half the game when it comes to putting together a fight. You need a promotion to do it, a network that would want to air it. Just because the content is agreeable doesn't mean that it's actually gonna happen.
"Jason and I were ready to go, but outside our realm of responsibility the decisions were made that the fight wasn't gonna happen and they would be looking for different opponents for both of us and I got Melvin."
When asked if Nick Diaz was to blame for the fight falling apart, all Kennedy could do was laugh.
So as Tim already stated, he is set to square off against Melvin Manhoef this Saturday night. The Dutch kickboxer is known for his incredible punching power. Whenever you step in to the cage against Melvin, the fighter standing across from him has to be worried from the get-go about getting his head knocked in to the fifth row.
Kennedy, however, is not worried about this and believes he has the gameplan to take Manhoef out of his comfort zone.
"I'm going to bring the fight to him. I think he's comfortable with dictating the pace. We need to hang back and punch and defend the takedown."
"When he fights a heavy handed striker like Robbie Lawler he tries to set the pace and where the movements is going to be. But that's not really going to work with me."
"From the get to its going to be a very exciting, explosive fight. I think there are areas of his game that are weak,but one of them is not his wrestling. I think a lot of people underestimate how good of a wrestler he really is. So I'm going to use a lot more of an up-down game to try to pick him apart before I hopefully knock him out."
Over the course of his career, Melvin's weakness in the MMA game has always been the submission. It seems as if every time Melvin hits the mat, he taps shortly thereafter. Even though he knows this is true, it doesn't seem as if it will be changing Tim's gameplan at all.
"I won't be looking for [the submission]. If it's there, it's there. That's always how I fight. All my submissions, they're almost accidents. I really don't want them to happen. I like knocking guys out.
Kennedy also believes that Melvin's fear of being taken down will play into his hands perfectly.
"I can lower my levels and punch again, so I think I going to have a lot more opportunities to do damage from different positions than he will. If the takedowns need to come in to play, the will. I'll be faking to punch him; I'll be punching him to fake him. Its gonna be all over the place."
"It's MMA, that's what's awesome!" exclaimed Kennedy.
While Kennedy realized that a win over Manhoef most likely won't get him back in to consideration for a title shot, he can came to realize that there is a great importance in not only winning, but also finishing fights, especially when it comes to moving his way back in to title contention.
"Not only are wins considered in where you stand in Strikeforce's middleweight division, but how your performances are in those fights."
"People are like 'Hey, you got rushed into that title fight [against Jacare].' Absolutely not! I won 3 fights in a row, all by submission or knockout. The only way to ensure you get that W is to go out there and knock them out or submit them.
"I want to go out there and make an exclamation mark. That I'm a MMA guy. I can KO whoever I want, I can sub whoever I want, but what I want people to take away from this is Tim is here to win."
"Not that the nice Tim is gone, but I really wanna get in there and start hurting some people."
"I want to go out there and finish fights. Not that I don't like judges, but with MMA scoring, who knows. It's like a fart in the wind—you just guess which way it came from and then it's gone."
Knowing that a win over Manhoef will not be enough to get him a title shot, Kennedy already has his next opponent in mind.
"I want to fight a top 10 guy. Give me Robbie [Lawler]. Let me fight a top 10 guy, let me beat him decisively, Then let's evaluate Tim."
"I'll just go out there and fight and put on a show and let [Strikeforce] make the decision about where I stand."
On a quick note, Tim also talked about his diet. He stated that he like to eat game meat, like elk, deer, buffalo, etc.
But what about horse meat? Anyone who has seen how Alistair Overeem's body has developed over the past few years can see that it has worked wonders for him. So would Kennedy ever eat horse?
"You mean the kind of horse meat that makes you gain 60 pounds in two years? No, I won't eat that."