After a distinguished fighting career that lasted more than 15 years, Tim Kennedy says he's hanging up his gloves.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday, the 37-year-old Kennedy stated that while he still feels he is a competitive fighter, age has caught up with him. After several years deliberating whether or not to retire from the cage, Kennedy said that his third-round knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 206 in December moved him to move on.
The Gastelum bout was Kennedy's first fight in nearly 27 months.
“I know I am still a good fighter. I know I was away a while,” Kennedy wrote. “But they didn’t feel what I felt, and that’s being 37. I felt like I was in slow motion the entire match. I felt tired for the first time ever in a fight.”
Kennedy, an active Army Ranger and Green Beret sniper, turned pro in August 2001, training alongside Chuck Liddell, Gan McGee and Jake Shields at The Pit under John Hackleman. After emerging as a middleweight during his tenure in the International Fight League, Kennedy went to Strikeforce, where he would face “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza for the promotion's vacant 185-pound title in August 2010, losing a five-round unanimous decision to the Brazilian.
Kennedy made his UFC debut at UFC 162 in July 2013, winning a decision over grappling legend Roger Gracie. The native Californian would then record perhaps the two most significant wins of his career. First, in November 2013, Kennedy knocked out Rafael Natal in the main event of the UFC's “Fight of the Troops 3” in front of active duty military personnel at Fort Hood in Kentucky.
“I want to thank the military community for their support. I’ll never be able to explain how much you motivated me and how much I always tried to make you proud,” Kennedy detailed. “I’ve been a professional fighter for two decades, but there was no greater moment for me than winning the main event of 'Fight for the Troops 3.' You made me invincible that night. I will keep fighting for you all until the day I die.”
Five months later, he dominated current UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping to win a 25-minute decision in Quebec City. Following a controversial loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 178, Kennedy focused on a variety of projects outside of MMA -- including participating in History Channel's “Hunting Hitler” -- before returning for the Gastelum bout in December.
Kennedy retires with an 18-6 pro MMA record, which also includes wins over the likes of former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, Melvin Manhoef and “Mayhem” Jason Miller.
Unsurprisingly, Kennedy said that he would not be completely removed from the sport, as he planned to continue working on initiatives in the MMA labor market and expanding fighters' rights.
“So with that, to all of you fighters out there, I am not going anywhere,” said Kennedy. I am committed to growing our sport and taking care of those who are a part of it. As sad as it is for me to walk away, the only thing sadder would be for me to stay because I had no other choice in order to feed my family.”
See Kennedy's full retirement statement below: