UFC Vet Kenny Robertson: “I’m Not Going to Lay Down For Anybody”
Former NCAA Wrestler Discusses Highlight Reel Win over Linhares, Hopes for Octagon Return
By Kelsey Mowatt
If some throughout the MMA world had forgotten about the name Kenny Robertson, the UFC vet did his best recently to remind fans of his presence, by knocking out Lucio Linhares with a spinning back fist at a Fight Festival card in October. Now granted, the fight did take place in Finland and as result it wasn’t headline news throughout North America, but through the wonders of the Internet word of the memorable finish has started to get out.
“More recently actually,” Robertson told FCF while discussing whether fans and the media took notice of his recent win. “I don’t think many people even knew about the fight until after it happened.”
Robertson caught Linhares with the fight ending technique, as the two scrambled for position, shortly before the first round came to an end.
“We were working on that a little bit more than I had been,” Robertson said. “When I first started training I was working on the spinning-back-fist quite a bit, but I had kind of gotten away from it. The last month before the fight I practiced it a few times a week.”
Robertson was brought into face the Finnish resident Linhares, who had won three straight fights since he exited from the UFC last year, following a stoppage loss to middleweight contender Yushin Okami. The smaller Robertson agreed to fight Linhares at a catch-weight limit of 176 pounds.
“I think I was supposed to be that last building step to try to get him back in the UFC,” said Robertson. “I’m not going to lay down for anybody. I think with him being the bigger fighter and fighting at a catch-weight, I don’t think they were trying to get him beat that’s for sure.”
“Not really,” Robertson added, when asked if he was surprised when he found out that his next bout would take place in Helsinki. “My manager Nick Thomspon gets a lot of calls from overseas and other countries…It’s a beautiful country; a lot of old buildings, really clean, and nice scenery.”
While Northern Europe has produced several notable fighters and the region features several MMA promotions, Robertson reports that the Finnish MMA community has some noticeable differences.
“It’s not quite as mainstream yet,” Robertson noted. “The fans aren’t as loud. They cheer, but it’s different. If you watch the video, they’ll clap, then cheer and then be quiet. It’s a lot different than the U.S. that’s for sure.”
Of course, when it was all said and done, the most important thing that Robertson accomplished during his trip to Finland was defeating another UFC vet.
“It was pretty big. I would hope that if I win a couple more they’ll bring me back,” said the former NCAA wrestler, while discussing the importance of his latest win and his desire to return to the UFC. “It was also big for me because I had such a hard time finding a fight, after my last UFC fight, so I fought in February and I didn’t get to fight again until October. It was a long, long dry spell.”
Following Robertson’s one and only Octagon appearance, a second round TKO loss to welterweight Mike Pierce at UFC 126, the 27 year-old-fighter was released from the promotion.
“No, not really,” said Robertson, when asked if he was surprised by the fact that the UFC let him go. “It’s a business and it’s a rough business, especially with the merger. I’m not going to say I wasn’t pissed off, but it is what it is…I just had a bad feeling after I lost. I didn’t have a very good game plan when I was going in, so, it didn’t really surprise me that much.”
“I think another win or two and I’ll get back in there,” Robertson added. “My stand-up has really improved since I fought there last, and that’s mainly what I’ve been working on. I’ve got good wrestling and good jits, and although I keep working on those, I’ve been focusing on my hands a lot and I’m a more well rounded fighter now.”