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Tim Kennedy vows to ‘fight much more fiercely’ post-retirement - ‘It’s about more important things’

MMA: UFC 206 Weigh Ins Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight veteran Tim Kennedy (18-6) officially announced his retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA) with a very long and fulfilling Facebook post (read it). The active United States Army National Guard special forces operator’s social media post was touching and truly catered to all fans of the sport.

It’s unfortunate that the fan favorite’s MMA run had to end on a loss. Kennedy’s last fight took place at UFC 206 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he was bested by UFC Welterweight/Middleweight Kelvin Gastelum (13-2) via a third round technical knockout victory.

Kennedy had stated in his Facebook post — even though he was apparently discussing it with his team and family for several years — that he had decided to hang them up while sitting in the emergency room of Saint Michael’s Hospital in Toronto post-fight. However, when he recently spoke with, he said otherwise.

“I knew that the outcome of the fight regardless of a win or a loss was going to be me being retired,” said Kennedy. “There was one or two scenarios that could have maybe kept me around, and that was me fighting Michael Bisping in like, London, for 10 percent of the entire pay-per-view, which is obviously an impossibility.”

Kennedy chuckled while stating that last part — he has a win over the current UFC 185-pound champ by the way — but the Texan was planning on his last bout being against Rashad Evans at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden.

“So, I was done. I knew I was done. I wanted a Cinderella story,” he said. “I wanted to go out fighting Rashad at Madison Square Garden, but that’s not how life is. So I knew I was going to be done regardless.”

Unfortunately, because of medical issues, Evans was unable to fight Kennedy at UFC 205 and 206 for that matter. The anticipated Middleweight debut of Evans and the return fight for Kennedy would have been a story book ending ... especially if he won. But alas, Kennedy is at piece with his decision, which is all that matters in the end.

“I really pride myself on being intelligent, smart, but most importantly as a man that understands his assets and liabilities. Nothing, like, existentialist or anything, but when you are critically evaluating yourself and your performance, you know what you’re supposed to do, but physically you’re not able to do it,” he explained. “If anything, that fight — and more specifically, my performance in that fight — solidified in every single way that I was doing the right thing by walking away from the sport.”

While Kennedy may be through with physical combat inside The Octagon, his recent involvement in the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete’s Association (MMAAA) proves that he’s not finished fighting the fighter’s fight.

“I don’t care about a legacy,” said Kennedy. “If someone ever mentions my name again, regarding what I did in the sport as a competitor or now I think as somebody that’s going to reshape how it is now and how it affects athletes, I’m okay with that. Because I’m still going to make change. I am guy that fought for the biggest promotions in the world, in the darkest and dirtiest eras of the sport, against the most roided-out dudes we’ll ever see compete in the sport, and I was one of the best. I never ended up being the best, and that’s what I wanted. So, now it’s about the more important things.”

Kennedy’s current involvement with the MMAAA is only the beginning for him. He fully intends on continuing to strive for change in the sport through the duration of his retirement.

“Yeah, this is not a slow-moving thing. This is not a lawsuit that is going to take years. You’re going to see announcements every month. You’re going to see who’s part of this outspokenly, who are athletes on the roster that have already joined. You’re going to see content about why this is important coming out. And if you saw me fight, and you saw how I fought in the cage, this is something that I think is much more important than my performance, and I’ll fight much more fiercely.”

Kennedy will most definitely be missed within the MMA community as a fighter. But hopefully — stemming from what he’s had to say regarding post-retirement — we will definitely still be hearing from him in the long run.

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