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Tim Kennedy: Strikeforce middleweights can compete with the UFC’s top 10 any night

Tim Kennedy weighs in for his fight against Melvin Manhoef
Tim Kennedy weighs in for his fight against Melvin Manhoef

Ten months without work would drive anyone crazy, especially for a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) who is healthy and eager to return to action.

Strikeforce Middleweight contender Tim Kennedy knows all this too well, having competed last on July 30, 2011, at Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson" against Robbie Lawler, whom he defeated via unanimous decision, marking his second straight victory after failing to capture gold against Ronaldo Souza on Aug. 21, 2010.

So what's the hold up? He's not injured, but the man he is set to face next, current Strikeforce Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, is on the mend. Rockhold suffered a broken hand when he defended his strap against Keith Jardine on Jan. 7, 2012, and he has been riding the pine ever since.

Not only has the injury delayed Rockhold's second title defense, it has also caused Kennedy to play the waiting game, too. So why doesn't Kennedy just step into the hexagon against someone else? Well, he wants to, but Strikeforce matchmakers are set in having him face Rockhold next.

Kennedy, who was awarded of the Army's Bronze Star medal for his valor under fire, clears up his current status to Tapout Radio, after the jump:

"Luke broke his hand in his last fight against Keith Jardine. They won't let me fight anybody else. I said I'd fight anybody, but they're like, 'No, you're going to fight Luke', which is awesome, and now, I'm just waiting. I've been waiting for a while and I'm just going to keep waiting and keep training, as if I have a fight in two months. When they finally say, 'Here it is', I'll be ready to go."

After he does get his long awaited title shot against Rockhold, Kennedy still sees few challenges left for him in Strikeforce and says its time they get some new blood for him to compete against:

"When you see guys that are vacating other organizations like Hector Lombard, you know, is there an opportunity for him to be brought over to us? Absolutely not. Nobody has even considered it. Of course he's going to go straight to the UFC, and that leaves us with Jacare, Luke, and myself. The three of us, I'm pretty sure, we could fight, on any given night, with any of the top 10 UFC guys, and it would be a very, very competitive fight. As it stands, it's the three of us. If I beat Luke, in the summer, and I have the title, what's left for me? I guess I'll fight Jacare again. Whether I beat Jacare, or he beats me, then what? They'll have me fight Luke again? It's just this painful cycle, and I want fresh blood. I want to fight. I don't even think they're better fighters. I just think they're more well known because they fight for a promotion that wants to push their athletes. Again, I have to wait. I want that title. I'm whatever, 5-1 or 6-1 in Strikeforce, with a close loss for my last title fight. I think I deserve that title, and once I have that title, I really want to push to bring in some fresh fighters for all of us, not just for me."

A born fighter, Tim not only misses fighting inside the cage, but says he also misses fighting out in the battle fields with his brothers and sisters of the United States Army and is ready to go back, as soon as he has accomplished the MMA goals he has set for himself:

"I wish I was fighting more, without a doubt. I kind of put my military career on pause so I could fight, and since I've done that, I've only fought three times in two years. That's not ideal. I would like to be in there three or four times a year. I don't get paid to not fight. I get paid to fight. Every day that I'm not getting ready to get in the cage, I feel guilty, because I'm not with my brothers and sisters in uniform, doing a pretty important job. I would like to get back to either getting in a cage, or get back to fighting. I love fighting. I've always loved fighting. I always wish that I was overseas when I'm here, and when I'm overseas, I always wish that I'm in a cage. My mindset is that I have some very clear things that I want to achieve in fighting, and as soon as I get those done, then I'm done fighting. I'm getting very close to that. If I get this title, and then maybe a couple more fights later, I'll have the opportunity to fight for another title. That pretty much wraps up what I wanted to do, which is be the best fighter in my weight class in the world, so they just need to give me the opportunity to show that."

Currently, there is no timetable for Rockhold's return, which means Kennedy will be playing the waiting game just a little while longer.

But, will he grow even more restless?

Should the scrappy 185-pounder not get more fights soon, he could be returning back to serving our country sooner rather than later.

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