Tim Kennedy Discusses Rafael Natal and Future: “Sanchez Took More Damage in One Fight Than I Have in my Career”
By FCF Staff
Although Tim Kennedy will no longer battle former light-heavyweight champ and MMA star Lyoto Machida in the main event of “Fight for the Trooops III”, the middleweight understands he’ll face a tough test in Rafael Natal on November 6th. After all, since Natal was knocked out by Andrew Craig last July, the accomplished grappler has won three straight fights to improve his UFC record to 5-2-1.
While speaking on the latest edition of “UFC Tonight”, here’s what Kennedy had to say about “Sapao”, who stepped in for Machida once the latter was moved to UFC Fight Night 30.
“I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a tough guy. He’s well-rounded with great jiu-jitsu, has great wresting, and is an unorthodox striker,” Kennedy noted, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Roger Gracie in his UFC debut. “He has a lot of power, great heart, and never quits. I expect to give the troops what they deserve, which is a great fight.”
The bout will be the 21st of Kennedy’s pro career, which began well over a decade ago in 2001. When the 34 year-old fighter was asked how long he plans to keep fighting, the decorated soldier relayed:
“Stylistically, I can fight a long time. I’ve never taken a lot of damage. Diego Sanchez took more damage in one fight than I have in my career. I can fight for another five, six or seven more years. I still want to get my long gun out and be sniper in Special Forces ODA, but I have some goals set in MMA and I’m still working on them.”
“UFC Tonight’ commentators Kenny Florian and Chael Sonnen also weighed in on the upcoming Kennedy-Natal scrap, and here’s what the veteran fighters had to say about the UFC FN 31 headliner.
“For Rafael Natal, his keys are to be unpredictable with your striking and to watch out for Kennedy trying to take him down,” said Sonnen. “He has to defend the takedown, and if he does get taken down, Natal has to get back to his feet as quickly as possible if he’s to have a shot to win.”
“Kennedy has to mix in everything so well,” Florian noted. “He sets up his takedowns with his striking, and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills are so good. He is excellent on the ground. He has to be more aggressive and move forward and lead the dance. He has to use his footwork to keep Natal in front of him. He has to use his wrestling and put Natal on his back.”
“Fight for the Troops III” will be hosted by Fort Campbell in Kentucky and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.