Only a big fight was going to be enough to tempt Tim Kennedy back into the Octagon, and welcoming former 205lb champion Rashad Evans to the middleweight dvision at the historic UFC 205 event in New York City in November definitely fits the bill.
That being said, Kennedy was more than a little surprised that Evans specifically asked the UFC to fight him, given that they were former training partners at Greg Jackson’s gym.
“I was surprised,” Kennedy admitted in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour show this week. “A lot of weird perceptions happened in a training room and I think he perceived, when I was in there as a training partner, as the best version of me as a fighter. I’m not calling him a selfish person, but I don’t think he appreciated how much sacrifice and selflessness I was putting in there for him, you know. Like, I was there to help him get ready and that’s a different thing than me being an alpha dog trying o show him what I am as a fighter. And I don’t know If he appreciated the difference between the two.”
Evans made the decision to drop down to 185lbs after losing his last two fights in a row, and recording just two wins in his last six Octagon outings, and that’s left Kennedy in no doubt that the 37 year-old isn’t the fighter he once was.
“His chin has diminished,” Kennedy claimed. “You know, he cant take the shots he used to. His wrestling, you know, Ryan Bader exposed that he hasn’t been putting the work in. He knows I’m going to be moving forward as a wrestler, he knows I’m going to come forward with big heavy hands, so if there is a moment where he makes a mistake, I’m going to capitalize on it and hurt him. And if I touch his chin or put him on his back, he has a fight, and we’re going to be in both of those positions. So no, he’s not the same fighter he was when he knocked out Chuck Liddell. And I’m the same fighter if not better then I was 5 years ago, so November 12 is going to be tough fight for him.”