by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
When Tim Kennedy defeated Ryan McGivern for the IFL middleweight championship in May of 2007, it seemed like a major upset at the time.
McGivern was an established talent in the IFL, whereas Kennedy had just entered the promotion a couple months prior and thanks to his commitment to the Army’s elite Special Forces, he had never had an opportunity to make a full-time career of fighting.
Things have changed since then.
McGivern’s fighting career has mostly taken a back seat to his personal life, while Kennedy’s stock is currently soaring after an impressive first round submission of consistently top-ranked Trevor Prangley at last week’s special Strikeforce event in Los Angeles.
“I thought it went really well,” Kennedy told MMAWeekly.com. “Trevor is a really strong guy (and) I didn’t really expect to finish him like that.
“I think he just got caught. He’s a really tough guy that can handle a lot, and I think he’s going to have more great, epic battles ahead.”
While many felt the fighters were evenly matched, Prangley’s wrestling skills had Kennedy down a couple times in the fight, but he persevered and managed to turn the tables on his South African opponent to get a submission victory.
“The guy’s one of the best in the 185 (pound) division, and he’s also a super-strong guy, so it’s inevitable that a guy like that is going to end up on top,” commented Kennedy.
“Getting tossed sucks, but it really doesn’t do any damage to the guy hitting the ground, so I just had to keep hitting him and working the full five minutes of that first round.”
Because his military career had come first, Kennedy rarely had an opportunity to have a full-on training camp for a fight. As he points out, having time to properly prepare for the fight made all the difference.
“Your performance in the cage nine times out of 10 is always a byproduct of how hard you’ve been working, or how much time you had to train and what you did with the time that you had, and I really made good use of my time,” stated Kennedy.
“Every time I do a training camp like this, it’s going to get worse and worse for my opponents, and better and better for me. Trevor’s a tough guy – and he’s never been submitted before, and I’m not a submission guy – that should give you (a clue) to how prepared I was for this fight.”
With his third win in a row for Strikeforce, Kennedy is looking to take another step towards a title shot, and has a few ideas of who he’d like to face en route to the belt.
“There’s guys out there like Scott Smith and Jacare (Ronaldo Souza) who are on the top of my list,” said Kennedy. “Scott beating Cung Le this upcoming Strikeforce would set up for an exciting match-up; and Jacare is another guy who is at the top of the division that I’d like to get my hands on.”
While he may have been the underdog in the past, Tim Kennedy is showing that he has the legitimate makings of a star on the rise. And if things continue as they have been of late, it’s going to be rough time for anyone who gets in his way.
“First and foremost I have to thank the troops; all my brothers and sisters for watching and supporting me on the AFN. Thanks to all my sponsors: Gerber, Cash4Gold, RangerUp.com, and a couple of non-profit organizations: The Green Beret Foundation and Soldiers’ Angels,” he concluded. “They do a lot of things for busted-up soldiers, so check those two non-profits out.
“Thanks for all the support to the fans out there, I appreciate it, and keep watching, because I’ll keep knocking them out, or submitting them.”