Kennedy Hungry for Another Fight, Still Wants Lawler

By Staff Mar 15, 2011
If Tim Kennedy’s win over Melvin Manhoef on March 5 does not warrant a title shot, then he wants the next best fighter Strikeforce can offer. That would likely be former middleweight title challenger Robbie Lawler.

“If people don’t think I’m ready to fight [champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza] again, which I totally respect them, then give me another opportunity to perform and show them I am deserving to be in there for another title fight,” Kennedy (Pictured) said recently during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I’m still really, really hungry. I’m already back in the gym. I just want to demonstrate that I’m ready to go.”

Souza defeated Kennedy via unanimous decision last August. Most recently the Brazilian submitted Lawler with a rear-naked choke -- the same finish Kennedy used on Manhoef.

“It was a smart fight,” Kennedy said of his bout against Manhoef. “I needed to get back on the winning track and try to get myself back into relevancy for the middleweight title. A win was really important. A loss would have been really damaging to what I want to do in 2011. The regrets were that I did want to make a really exciting fight. I was hoping to showcase a little bit more of my standup, but I didn’t want to do that until he got tired. We just never got to that point. Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to go out there and bang with some guys, but Melvin’s just so dangerous. I respect him so much as a striker that I didn’t want to risk it.”

Kennedy actually sees quite a few similarities between Manhoef and Lawler. Both are explosive on the feet, for instance, but susceptible to submissions.

“I think Robbie is a better wrestler,” Kennedy said. “He’s been wrestling for longer than Melvin has. I know that Melvin’s been working at it much harder of late than perhaps Robbie has, but if Robbie has my name on the books, then unquestionably, he’s going to be preparing for takedown defense, getting up from the bottom, maybe takedowns himself.

“The fight will eventually end up there if Robbie and I fight, whether I take him down or he takes me down. He’s a great wrestler. That was his origin. Everybody’s like, ‘He’s such an amazing striker. He has powerful hands.’ Which is true. … He’s very dangerous both on the feet and on the ground. His takedown defense is stellar.”

Kennedy’s eagerness to get back in the cage could be explained by the fact that eventually, the Green Beret wants to return to serving his country.

“I’m always torn about which one I should be doing,” Kennedy said.

At this point, Kennedy suggested that he’d like to fight seven or eight more times. His plans are ambitious, but it’s important that he make his run in MMA now.

“When you come back from a deployment, you’re behind the curve,” Kennedy said of how quickly the sport can evolve. “You have to play catch-up. That means you have to work that much harder. Your conditioning and your technique are going to be deficient because you’ve had less than perfect circumstances to train in. You’re just playing a game of catch-up. Maybe it’s six months, maybe it’s a year [before you can fight again]. It depends.”

In that context, Kennedy’s urgency is understandable. He might not be fighting too much longer, and that’s why he wants top opposition now.

“I just want to fight the best guys in the middleweight division of Strikeforce,” he said. “I want to keep moving up in the overall world rankings and the level of competition that I face.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 37:08).

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