TUF Nations Finale: Tim Kennedy Wanted Finish But Believes “I Dominated Michael Bisping”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Tim Kennedy has answered any remaining questions as to whether he’s going to be a force in the UFC’s middleweight division, he doesn’t appear to be overly happy about his performance Wednesday night. Despite the fact Kennedy handed veteran contender Michael Bisping a unanimous decision loss at the TUF Nations Finale, it was his inability to stop his rival that he focused on afterwards.
“I’ve got a long road to making sure I execute what I’m supposed to do in a fight, which is finish fights,” Kennedy said at the post-fight presser. “I’m a finisher, I have one of the highest finishing rates in the UFC, so, Michael Bisping’s super tough, I should have been able to finish him…I’d get to where I’m supposed to be, like side control, but then I’d stop there and not do damage. I did all this work to get to the ground, get to side control, pass his guard, and then I’d hang out there…I don’t think I have any positives right now; ask me something that I did bad and I can answer you.”
After further thought about the victory, the 34 year-old Kennedy conceded there were in fact several positives to draw on.
“Positives: good entries, big punches, good takedowns, driving him into the cage, decent head movement,” said Kennedy. “I want to put on big, explosive fights, and I’m on my way to doing that.”
“It was a good game-plan; my coaches put together what I was supposed to do and that was big entries, big punches, set up the takedowns, make him scared of the takedowns so I could hit him with big punches,” noted the Jackson’s MMA fighter. “So good game-planning by my coaches. Another positive is that one of my friends was spit on, another was illegally kneed on the ground, and I wanted to get a little revenge, so I guess that’s a little positive.”
While Bisping has drawn praise of the years for his striking abilities, one of the reasons he’s been able to use them so effectively over his UFC tenure, is because of his takedown defence. As Kennedy noted, however, he was able to take Bisping down on several occasions, and control much of the action from the top position.
“I’ve been a black belt in jiu-jitsu for a while, and I’ve had the humility to train with some of the best guys in the world,” said Kennedy, while discussing the impressive ground game he showcased. “Rodrigo Cabral…some of the best grapplers in the planet I roll with on a daily basis, and unless you’re training with the best you’re never going to be the best…I’ve been doing this for 13 years; you guys haven’t seen anything on the ground yet.”
While some fans may not have been on the edge of their seats as Kennedy controlled Bisping from the top, and a stoppage win would have done more for Kennedy in terms of buzz, there’s no denying it was a crucial victory.
“It’s a huge win; it was the biggest opportunity that Dana has ever given me and I was really humbled to be in a main event against a perennial contender,” said Kennedy, who also relayed that he may have broke his right hand in the opening round. “I dominated Michael Bisping. A guy that’s been number four, five, or in the top five forever. Moving into mount a few times, side control a few times, takedowns when I wanted them, hit him with big shots and I’m super disappointed that I didn’t finish him. That’s what I come here to do is always finish fights.”
“I hurt him on a bunch of occasions, so it didn’t do what this fight was supposed to do, was like move me into ‘this guy should be fighting for a title’,” furthered Kennedy. “It’s a big win, it’s the biggest of my career, but it didn’t put me where it should. So that’s all on me. I just need another opportunity to get in there and show that I deserve to fight with the best.”
While it remains to be seen who the UFC will look to match Kennedy up with next, UFC boss man Dana White was evidently impressed with the fighter’s performance.
“I’m learning more and more about Tim Kennedy every time he fights too,” said White, who was critical of Kennedy’s decision winning performance versus Roger Gracie last July. “Bisping’s wrestling is underrated big time, and he took him down when he wanted to, and his jiu-jitsu is too, he’s got great jiu-jitsu, and like Tim Kennedy said earlier, and it’s true, Tim dominated him on the ground.”