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UFC 205: 'Surprised' Tim Kennedy doesn't think Rashad Evans knows what he's getting into

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Tim Kennedy will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon at UFC 205 on Nov. 12, 2016, when he faces Rashad Evans at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York (full details here). It’s a fight that will see Kennedy welcome his former Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA stablemate to the Middleweight division after spending the majority of his career at Light Heavyweight.

According to Kennedy, the fight came to be after "Suga" personally requested to fight him at 185 pounds, something that surprised Tim given their history. As he told "The MMA Hour," Kennedy doesn’t know why he did it, but if Evans thinks he’ll have an advantage over him based on a specific training camp they worked together, he’s got another thing coming.

Kennedy breaks it down:

"I flew to Albuquerque to specifically get him ready for a fight. It wasn’t for my fight camp, it was for him. He was probably fighting some wrestler, grinding, blue-collar, hard-nosed idiot-type dude. So I came in to get him ready for that, which was one of the reasons I was surprised he asked to fight me. Yeah, this isn’t Rashad in the twilight of his career coming into 185 in new weight class -- that’s not what happened. He said he was going to move to 185 and he asked Joe Silva if he could fight me. I don’t know why, but I am surprised. A lot of weird perceptions happen in a training room. And I think he perceived what I was there for when I was there as a training partner as the best version of me as a fighter. I’m not being condescending or calling him a selfish person, but I don’t think he appreciated how much selflessness and sacrifices I was putting there for him. I was there to help him get ready. That is a different thing than me being an Alpha dog and trying to show him what I am as a fighter. I don’t know if he appreciated the difference between the two. I didn’t want to hurt him, he has a fight coming up. I don’t want to cut him, I’m not going to throw knees and I am not going to throw elbows. My overhand, I’m going to soften it up when it lands. When we’re grappling, I am going to make sure that when I hit a takedown, I’m not going to hurt his knee, his ankle, his shoulder or his wrist because ultimately I have to make sure that he, as my training partner, is ready for his fight. I even told him, ‘Hey, welcome to 185.’ And he was like, ‘Thanks for the welcome, do you remember what it was like in the training room?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, man, I remember because I was there helping you get ready for a fight and you obviously think you were there beating me up.’ So it’s kind of a testament to our difference in our personalities. We just view things differently, so he is going to feel a different version of me as a fighter than when I was there helping him get ready for a fight."

Since Kennedy is very familiar with Evans, he can’t help but to notice that "Suga" isn’t the same fighter he once was, saying that his chin has obviously has diminished while his wrestling is lacking. In fact, Ryan Bader exposed Evans, who hasn’t been brushing up on his bread-and-butter.

That said, Kennedy is confident that while Evans isn’t the same fighter as before, he himself is a much-improved combatant than five years ago and, come fight night, he will hurt his former training partner if the chance is there.

Game on.

To check out the latest UFC 205: "McGregor vs. Alvarez" fight card and rumors click here.

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