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Tim Kennedy planning to leave Armed Forces and pursue full-time MMA career

While not yet a household name in mixed martial arts, middleweight Tim Kennedy has all the tools needed to go far in the sport.

Despite an impressive 9-2 record with notable victories over Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Dante Rivera, Ryan McGivern, and Hector Urbina, Kennedy has yet to breakthrough into the sport’s upper-echelon at 185 pounds.

The issue for Kennedy has been that since 2001, he has competed in just 11 pro bouts. His part-time fight schedule can be directly attributed to the fact that he’s Staff Sargent with the United States Army.

But things could be about to change for Kennedy, as the Army Times is reporting that Kennedy plans to go on terminal leave in the fall and eventually leave the Army. His enlistment ends on Jan. 5.

Kennedy apparently considered re-enlisting but the article indicates his bosses at Special Operations Command are currently preventing him from competing in civilian MMA fights. After five years in the military, Kennedy was put in a position where he has to make a choice.

Kennedy’s decision is notable because after compiling a perfect 3-0 record in the IFL, he is considered one of the top unsigned talents in this sport. A tremendous all-around fighting talent, Kennedy also comes with a backstory that would make any promoter drool. has spoken to several sources with top major MMA promotions in recent months that have confirmed their interest in Kennedy. Once they hear that he is going to pursue MMA on a full-time basis, their interest level is likely only to increase.

  • Smith says:

    Sign him UFC! That or go to DREAM, whip up, and continue to make America proud.

  • I’ve always wondered how much guys like Kennedy and Stann can actually train while in the army/marines. Anyone in the armed forces have any insight on that?

  • Cobra Kai says:

    I’m not in the armed forces but Stann said that he would work up to 12 hours a day for his duties and then train another 4 hours after that. Makes for a long day.

  • Rich S. says:

    My brother’s an Army Reserve, and i believe you only have to go for Drill once a month as a Reserve, but, if you’re not in the Reserves, you have to go alooooooooooot more..

    so, idk..
    but, i’m sure those guys get good training as soldiers, and probably only train things like boxing, or wrestling in the gym.. other than that, they have no problem staying fit, working cardio, or anything else like that just from Army Training/Drill/PT..

  • Reverse Retina says:

    Most of us in the Full-time Army don’t have the time to train like MMA Pros but this guy isn’t just and ‘ol Joe. He’s a Green Beret and their whole lifestyle is a little different. Just by the shear nature of their job they are more like professional athletes that compete in real combat. It seems there are a number of reasons that the Department of Defense has for not letting him fight while on Active Duty. The Army Times (which is not affiliated with the US Military despite the name) has a well researched article posted here:

  • dpk says:

    It depends on how often they are deployed and what base and job they are doing while deployed. There is a difference between someone doing a staff job on a large FOB with a incredible gym, and a good cardio track, versus someone who is going on patrol everyday, and living on a tiny FOB with no gym and no good place to do cardio. During my deployment, their were some heavy bags set up, and guys working on them almost every evening, and even doing some sparring and grappling.

    The Army’s current combatives program is based on BJJ and was developed by Royce Gracie a about 6-7 years ago, so if he is deployed with Soldiers who have been through that training then he would have some good guys he could roll with. I think he is a Ranger, so those guys stay in incredible shape, and have usually been certified though at least the first couple levels of the combatives program. I really wouldn’t be surprised over the next few years to see alot of guys coming out of the military and trying professional MMA at some level, it has a hugh following

    I hope this guy ends up in UFC, he would be another great addition to the MW division, to go along with other up and coming guys like Amir, CB, and Rosholt

  • […] he is going to pursue MMA on a full-time basis, their interest level is likely only to increase. Tim Kennedy planning to leave Armed Forces and pursue full-time MMA career :Five Ounces of Pain […]

  • mike wolfe says:

    So the guy has to choose between being a pro MMA fighter or Special Ops? Next you’ll tell me he’s dating one of the Victoria’s Secret models. Dang.

  • JT says:

    Tim trains some with the Team-roc guys at Ft. Bragg a good bit. A couple of the guys are Royce Gracie black belts and a few are K-1 MMA fighters. So he has some good training partners there. They have nothing but praise for Tim. The guys is on another level. Going full time will only help, good luck to him.

  • Kel says:

    I have enjoyed watching Tim Kennedy fight. His matches with Jason Miller were great, well matched fights. Tim seems to be one of those guys that will never give up. In his last fight with Mayhem, he was cut up and swollen pretty badly and he sill managed to almost finish Miller. Whoever signs him should feel very fortunate to have a fighter of his caliber on their roster.

  • Kel says:

    Tim is also a great interviewee (Sp)..Classic stuff on HD Net with Mayhem

  • ArmyGuy says:

    Tim is one of the best dudes you will ever meet, anywhere. He is the best at what he does in the Army and he is going to be a nightmare for a lot of middleweights in any promotion.

    He trains a lot, but he does so between deployments and after work. His group is flexible with his training schedule, but he isn’t afforded the opportunity to work out like guys in fulltime camps.

    Tim’s at the point now where is game is so complete that if he wants to get better at BJJ he needs to roll with Dean Lister. If he wants to improve striking he needs to be in Boston with Mark or back at the Pit with Chuck and he simply is not being afforded that opportunity.

    With the kid gloves off, I promise you will love watching him – the insiders out there already know how many guys have ducked him – and conversely know how many fights he’s missed because of the Army.

    This is great news for a guy that has done more for his country than anyone could ask. This is dumb news once again for the Army.


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