As the time in the Strikeforce clock reaches closer and closer to an end, many fighters on the promotion's roster are faced with the uncertainty of what the future holds next for them as far as their respective fighting careers go.
Top stars such as Daniel Cormier, Gilbert Melendez and Luke Rockhold are pretty much guaranteed a spot on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster, while others will probably have to win decisively this weekend (Jan, 12, 2013) at Strikeforce: "Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" in what will be the final event for the promotion.
For most, the end of Strikeforce is bittersweet, as is the case with middleweight contender Tim Kennedy, who says he is ‘sad' to see the promotion he's called home for the past two years go away, much like he was when PRIDE FC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) closed up shop, despite the fact he never competed in Japan.
On the flip side, the US Army Ranger is ‘excited' to see what happens next as he anticipates a move to the bright lights of the UFC after the dust settles in his swan song this Saturday night in Oklahoma City.
His words to Strikeforce:
"I have five fights with Strikeforce. I've fought for their title twice, and while I came up pathetically short, it is a bittersweet feeling. I'd hate to say it was great seeing it come to an end. I like to think I've been one of their marquee guys. When PRIDE closed, people originally said it was a good thing, but then the same people say they miss it. I miss PRIDE and I never even fought for them. It's the same way I miss the WEC. It is bittersweet. I'm excited for the next chapter of my MMA career but it's also kind of sad."
One of the stigmas that often followed Kennedy, and Strikeforce athletes in general, was the fact that most of them had never competed inside the UFC's Octagon, therefore being labeled second-rate fighters by some.
As far as that notion goes, Kennedy could care less what some journalists or fans may think about his fighting career up until this point because he simply fights because he likes it and he's been doing it all his life:
"I've never fought for recognition. Yeah it sucks when fans say since I've never fought for the UFC I'm horses**t. That's not really great but I don't care. I don't have enough ego to care what journalists or even fans say about my fighting career. I fight because I like fighting. When I learned how to crawl I was trying to attack my brother's ankle. When I learned how to walk I was beating the crap out of my sister. Then I turned 15 and I was fighting in the In-and-Out parking lot. Then I turned 17 and I was fighting in the fields and riverbeds of California. When I turned 24 I was fighting in the streets of Iraq and by 27 it was Afghanistan. Now I'm going to care about fighting because somebody says I'm not good enough because I don't fight for a particular organization? I don't care. I fight because I like fighting."
Though it isn't exactly set in stone that Tim will join the ranks of the UFC, his addition to the promotion's middleweight division can make for some pretty interesting match-ups while giving him the recognition he deserves, but doesn't necessarily crave.
Of course, he still has to prove victorious over Trevor Smith this weekend in order to avoid dropping two straight and blow his opportunity to compete for the world's leading MMA promotion.
Would you be interested in seeing how Kennedy fares against the top competition the UFC can offer?