Timothy Fred "Tim" Kennedy (born September 1, 1979) is an American retired professional mixed martial artist who most recently competed in the UFC's Middleweight division. He has also formerly competed for Strikeforce, the WEC, ShoMMA, HDNet Fights, and represented the Chicago Red Bears in the IFL. Kennedy is one of the few fighters to simultaneously serve in the United States Army National Guard while also fighting professionally.
Kennedy grew up the second son of three children in a Christian family in Atascadero, California. He is of Irish descent. As a youth, Kennedy's mother placed him in cooking and piano lessons. To offset her influence on him, Kennedy's father enrolled Tim and his brother in shooting schools, boxing lessons, wrestling teams, and Japanese ju-jitsu classes. Kennedy attended Eagle Academy private high school, graduating in 1998. He then attended Columbia College of Missouri, earning a B.A. in criminal justice in 2002. Kennedy began competing in sanctioned mixed martial arts fights while still in college, but after graduation he enlisted in the United States Army, joining the elite Special Forces in 2004. However, he continued to compete in MMA while serving as a Green Beret. When the Army instituted a service-wide Combatives (hand-to-hand fighting) tournament in 2005, Kennedy entered and won the tournament in the Light Heavyweight division. He achieved this goal three years in a row.
Tim Kennedy joined the Army on January 4, 2004, and completed Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, Airborne School and the Special Forces Qualification Course. Tim was featured in Dick Couch's book about Green Beret selection called "Chosen Soldier" under the moniker "Tom Kendall". In 2007, he completed Ranger School and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, where he served on Operational Detachments Alpha. During this time he was also a sniper, sniper instructor, and the principal combatives instructor for C Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. Kennedy deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom multiple times.
In August 2009, Kennedy transitioned from active duty to the Texas Army National Guard and served in the position of Special Forces Weapons Sergeant. After stepping away from MMA citing issues he has with the way the sport is run, Kennedy alluded on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that he is taking private security work around the world.
Among Kennedy's multiple awards are the Army's Bronze Star Medal with V device, which was awarded for valor under fire.
Mixed martial arts career
Kennedy began training at Dokan School of Martial Arts in Atascadero, California under Terry Kelly and Barry Smith. He began his MMA training in 1999, training with Chuck Liddell, Jake Shields, Gan McGee, and John Hackleman at The Pit in San Luis Obispo.
Kennedy first started fighting in 1996 and had 31 amateur fights, amassing a record of 30–1 before his first professional fight in 2001. In 2003 he entered and won a one-night tournament at Extreme Challenge 50, winning all three of his fights. In 2004 he joined the Army. Kennedy only fought once in 2006. He then fought for the now defunct International Fight League in 2007, and did not fight in 2008 due to Army deployments overseas. During this time he wrote a three part series of "Letters from a Foreign Land" that chronicled his time in combat.
Kennedy returned to mixed martial arts in 2009 with a win over Nick Thompson at Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg in Kent, Washington. He followed this up with an impressive win over Zak Cummings in the main event of ShoMMA 3.
Kennedy fought Trevor Prangley on June 16, 2010, at Strikeforce: Los Angeles. Kennedy won the fight via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in the first round.
Since his move to Austin, Texas, Tim has been training at Competitive Training Center and with BJJ black belt Phil Cardella at the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Austin Association.
Kennedy lost a 5-round decision to Ronaldo Souza for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship at Strikeforce: Houston on August 21, 2010. He was expected to face Jason Miller again on March 5, 2011, at Strikeforce 32. However, Miller was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Melvin Manhoef. He won via submission in the first round. He returned in July 2011 to face Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. He won the bout via unanimous decision. He faced Luke Rockhold on July 14, 2012, for the Strikeforce Middleweight championship at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Kennedy was expected to face Trevor Smith on November 3, 2012, at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir. However, the event was cancelled due to injuries to headliner Frank Mir, as well to co-headliner and middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. This bout eventually took place on January 12, 2013, at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine. Kennedy won via submission in the third round.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
In January 2013, the Strikeforce organization was closed by its parent company Zuffa. A list of fighters scheduled to be brought over to the Ultimate Fighting Championship was released in mid-January and Kennedy was one of the fighters listed.
Kennedy faced Roger Gracie on July 6, 2013, at UFC 162, he defeated Gracie via unanimous decision after defending Gracie's submission attempts and standing up with Gracie, out striking him.
Kennedy was expected to face Lyoto Machida on November 6, 2013, at UFC Fight For The Troops 3. However, Machida was pulled from the bout in favor of a matchup with Mark Muñoz on October 26, 2013, at UFC Fight Night 30, after Muñoz's original opponent, Michael Bisping was forced out of their bout with an injury. Kennedy instead faced Rafael Natal in the event headliner. He won the fight via knockout in the first round. The win also earned him his first Knockout of the Night bonus award.
For his third fight with the promotion, Kennedy faced Michael Bisping on April 16, 2014, at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Kennedy faced Yoel Romero on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178. He lost the fight via TKO in the third round. Kennedy nearly finished Romero in the final seconds of the second round but Romero was saved by the bell. Yoel Romero, his cornermen, the referee and the UFC cutman have all been criticized for their actions resulting in a 28-second delay after the scheduled start for the third round. Romero later responded to the controversy, stating that Tim Kennedy illegally held his glove during the attack which prevented Romero from being able to block the punches that rocked him. Despite the loss, Kennedy earned a Fight of the Night bonus award.
After two years away from the sport, Kennedy was expected to face Rashad Evans on November 12, 2016, at UFC 205, the first UFC card at Madison Square Garden. However on November 8, Evans was pulled from the fight after an undisclosed irregularity was found during his pre-fight medical exam. In turn, Kennedy was removed from the card as well. The bout was quickly rescheduled to take place a month later at UFC 206. Once again, Evans was unable to obtain medical clearance to compete on the card and was pulled from the bout on November 21. Kennedy faced Kelvin Gastelum. He lost the fight via TKO in the third round.
On January 17, 2017, Kennedy released a social media statement announcing his retirement from MMA. In the post he admitted that he no longer desired to fight professionally and thanked those closest to him for their support. He also thanked the US Army, claiming that there was 'no greater moment' than his victory in the main event of UFC: Fight for the Troops 3.
Kennedy is married and has two daughters. Kennedy will be playing himself in the upcoming Indie film, Range 15. He is a co-owner of Ranger Up, a military-based clothing company.
Kennedy is friends with radio host Alex Jones and has worked in initiatives with his organization. He also describes himself as a 'gun nut' as the sole thing reflective of reality, having been labelled that, a right-winger and a Republican.
Kennedy has been featured as a participant in The History Channel's series Hunting Hitler.
Championships and awards
- Extreme Challenge
- Extreme Challenge Middleweight Tournament winner
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Fight of the Night (One time)
- Knockout of the Night (One time)
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|24 matches||18 wins||6 losses|
|Loss||18–6||Kelvin Gastelum||TKO (punches)||UFC 206||December 10, 2016||3||2:45||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Loss||18–5||Yoel Romero||TKO (punches)||UFC 178||September 27, 2014||3||0:58||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||18–4||Michael Bisping||Decision (unanimous)||The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale: Bisping vs. Kennedy||April 16, 2014||5||5:00||Quebec City, Quebec, Canada|
|Win||17–4||Rafael Natal||KO (punch)||UFC: Fight for the Troops 3||November 6, 2013||1||4:40||Fort Campbell, Kentucky, United States||Knockout of the Night.|
|Win||16–4||Roger Gracie||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 162||July 6, 2013||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||15–4||Trevor Smith||Submission (guillotine choke)||Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine||January 12, 2013||3||1:36||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Loss||14–4||Luke Rockhold||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy||July 14, 2012||5||5:00||Portland, Oregon, United States||For the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.|
|Win||14–3||Robbie Lawler||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson||July 30, 2011||3||5:00||Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States|
|Win||13–3||Melvin Manhoef||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson||March 5, 2011||1||3:41||Columbus, Ohio, United States|
|Loss||12–3||Ronaldo Souza||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Houston||August 21, 2010||5||5:00||Houston, Texas, United States||For the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.|
|Win||12–2||Trevor Prangley||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Strikeforce: Los Angeles||June 16, 2010||1||3:35||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||11–2||Zak Cummings||Submission (north-south choke)||Strikeforce Challengers: Kennedy vs. Cummings||September 25, 2009||2||2:43||Bixby, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||10–2||Nick Thompson||Submission (punches)||Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg||June 19, 2009||2||2:37||Kent, Washington, United States|
|Win||9–2||Elias Rivera||KO (punches)||IFL: World Grand Prix Finals||December 29, 2007||1||2:00||Uncasville, Connecticut, United States|
|Loss||8–2||Jason Miller||Decision (unanimous)||HDNetFIGHTS: Reckless Abandon||December 15, 2007||3||5:00||Dallas, Texas, United States|
|Win||8–1||Ryan McGivern||Submission (guillotine choke)||IFL: Chicago||June 19, 2007||2||1:25||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Win||7–1||Dante Rivera||Submission (punches)||IFL: Atlanta||February 23, 2007||2||2:29||Atlanta, Georgia, United States||Light Heavyweight bout.|
|Win||6–1||Héctor Urbina||KO (punches)||Fight Fest 7||September 23, 2006||1||1:28||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Win||5–1||Cruz Chacon||TKO (punches)||Extreme Challenge 50||February 23, 2003||2||1:21||Salt Lake City, Utah, United States||Won Extreme Challenge Middleweight Tournament.|
|Win||4–1||Jason Miller||Decision (unanimous)||Extreme Challenge 50||February 23, 2003||3||5:00||Salt Lake City, Utah, United States|
|Win||3–1||Ryan Narte||TKO (punches)||Extreme Challenge 50||February 23, 2003||1||1:22||Salt Lake City, Utah, United States|
|Win||2–1||Mack Brewer||TKO (punches)||WEC 5: Halloween Havoc||October 18, 2002||1||1:03||Lemoore, California, United States||Light Heavyweight bout.|
|Win||1–1||Jody Burke||Submission (forearm choke)||IFC: Warriors Challenge 16||November 9, 2001||1||0:44||Oroville, California, United States|
|Loss||0–1||Scott Smith||TKO (doctor stoppage)||IFC: Warriors Challenge 15||August 31, 2001||1||2:53||Oroville, California, United States|