Bisping was the favorite. Bisping has had his name etched in the Top 10 for several years. Bisping is the one who is perennially a step away from a title shot.
But Kennedy is the one that could take that all away and leapfrog into the hunt for the UFC middleweight title.
Kennedy won the fight, moving himself another rung up the ladder. He, however, wanted to move several rungs up the ladder, but fell short of his goal.
“It was a huge win. It was the biggest opportunity that Dana’s ever given me. I was really humbled to be in a main event against a perennial contender,” said Kennedy at the post-fight press conference in Quebec City.
“I dominated Michael Bisping; a guy that has been in the Top 5 forever. I’m just super disappointed that I didn’t finish him.”
Not finishing the fight, at least in Kennedy’s mind, and probably in the minds of fans and pundits as well, left him falling short of being considered for a shot at the belt after champion Chris Weidman faces Lyoto Machida in July. Vitor Belfort is already at the head of the line for that distinction anyway, but Kennedy wants to be in position to at least for the issue.
“This fight didn’t do what it was supposed to, which was it didn’t move me into ‘this guy is supposed to be fighting for a title (territory),’” he continued.
“It’s a big win; it’s the biggest of my career, but it didn’t put me where it should. That’s all on me. I just need another opportunity to go in there and show that I should be fighting with the best.”
Perhaps later, after he’s gotten over the adrenaline dump of a 25-minute fight, Kennedy might feel a little differently about the situation.
Sure, had he gone in there and knocked Bisping cold or submitted him, he might be able to heckle Dana White about a title shot, but Kennedy does realize that he is making progress. It’s just not coming in the quantum leaps that he’d like.
“I was disappointed. I finish fights and I didn’t finish the fight tonight,” he said. “Michael Bisping is super tough, (but) I should have been able to finish him.
“I want to put on big, explosive fights and I’m on my way to doing that.”
But he knows there’s a lot more in the tank than what he let out on Wednesday night.
“You’re gonna get little glimpses of what I can do, and that was a little glimpse. I’ve got a lot more to show.”
White didn’t give any inkling as to what’s next for Kennedy. The former Strikeforce contender, however, doesn’t relish the idea of jumping in the mix of other former Strikeforce fighters that are starting to clog up the middleweight division.
Fights with the likes of Jacare Souza, Luke Rockhold, or Gegard Mousasi could be around the corner for Kennedy, but he would like to face the likes of Mark Munoz or another UFC branded contender.
No matter who is next, Kennedy’s victory over Bisping puts him in the thick of the upper echelon of the division. So whether it is a former Strikeforce peer or a UFC pure bred, stiff competition awaits for Kennedy to show us another glimpse of what he has in his arsenal.