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Tim Kennedy
Born September 1, 1979(1979-09-01) (age 43)
San Luis Obispo, California, United States
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
Tim Kennedy
Born September 1, 1979(1979-09-01) (age 43)
Place of birth San Luis Obispo, California, United States
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 2004 – Present
Rank Army-USA-OR-06.svg Staff Sergeant
Unit 7th Special Forces Group
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan, Iraq War

Timothy Fred Kennedy (born September 1, 1979) is an American professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the UFC's Middleweight division. He has also formerly competed for Strikeforce, the WEC, the IFC, ShoMMA, HDNet Fights, and represented the Chicago Red Bears in the IFL. Kennedy is one of the few fighters to simultaneously serve full-time in the United States Army while also fighting professionally.


Kennedy grew up the second son of three children in a Christian family in Atascadero, California. As a youth, Kennedy’s mother placed him in cooking and piano lessons. To offset her influence on him, Kennedy’s father enrolled Tim and his brother in shooting schools, boxing lessons, wrestling teams, and Japanese jujitsu classes.[1] Kennedy attended Eagle Academy private high school, graduating in 1998. He then attended Columbia College of Missouri, earning a B.A. in criminal justice in 2002. Kennedy began competing in sanctioned mixed martial arts fights while still in college, but after graduation he enlisted in the United States Army, joining the elite Special Forces in 2004. However, he continued to compete in MMA while serving as a Green Beret. When the Army instituted a service-wide Combatives (hand-to-hand fighting) tournament in 2005, Kennedy entered and won the tournament in the Light Heavyweight division. He achieved this goal three years in a row.

Military career

Tim Kennedy joined the Army on January 4, 2004 and completed Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, Airborne School and the Special Forces Qualification Course. Tim was featured in Dick Couch's book about Green Beret selection called "Chosen Soldier" under the moniker "Tom Kendall". In 2007, he completed Ranger School[2] and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group,[3] where he served on Operational Detachments Alpha. During this time he was also a sniper, sniper instructor, the principal combatives instructor for C Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. Kennedy deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom multiple times.[4] Among Kennedy’s multiple awards are the Army’s Bronze Star Medal with V device, which was awarded for valor under fire.[5]

Mixed martial arts career

Early career

Kennedy began training at Dokan School of Martial Arts in Atascadero, California under Terry Kelly, and Barry Smith. He began his MMA training in 1999, training with Chuck Liddell, Jake Shields, Gan McGee, and John Hackleman at The Pit in San Luis Obispo.[6]

Kennedy first started fighting in 1996 and had 31 amateur fights, amassing a record of 30-1[citation needed] before his first professional fight in 2001. In 2003 he entered and won a one-night tournament at Extreme Challenge 50, winning all three of his fights. In 2004 he joined the Army. Kennedy only fought once in 2006. He then fought for the now defunct International Fight League in 2007, and did not fight in 2008 due to Army deployments overseas. During this time he wrote a three part series of "Letters from a Foreign Land" that chronicled his time in combat.[7][8][9]


Kennedy returned to mixed martial arts in 2009 with a win over Nick Thompson at Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg in Kent, Washington. He followed this up with an impressive win over Zak Cummings in the main event of ShoMMA 3.

Kennedy fought Trevor Prangley on June 16, 2010 at Strikeforce: Los Angeles.[10] Kennedy won the fight via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in the first round.

Since his move to Austin, Texas, Tim has been training at Competitive Training Center and with BJJ black belt Phil Cardella at the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Austin Association.[11]

Kennedy lost a 5-round decision to Ronaldo Souza for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship at Strikeforce: Houston on August 21, 2010.

Kennedy was expected to face Jason Miller again on March 5, 2011 at Strikeforce 32. However, Miller was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Melvin Manhoef. He won via submission in the first round.

Kennedy returned in July 2011 to face Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. He won the bout via unanimous decision.

Kennedy faced Luke Rockhold on July 14, 2012 for the Strikeforce Middleweight championship at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.

Kennedy was expected to face Trevor Smith on November 3, 2012 at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir.[12] However, the event was cancelled due to injuries to headliner Frank Mir, as well to co-headliner and middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.[13] This bout eventually took place on January 12, 2013 at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.[14] Kennedy won via submission in the third round.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

In January 2013, the Strikeforce organization was closed by its parent company Zuffa. A list of fighters scheduled to be brought over to the Ultimate Fighting Championship was released in mid-January and Kennedy was one of the fighters listed.[15]

Kennedy faced Roger Gracie on July 6, 2013 at UFC 162, he defeated Gracie via unanimous decision after defending Gracie's submission attempts and standing up with Gracie, out striking him.[16]

Kennedy was expected to face Lyoto Machida on November 6, 2013 at UFC Fight For The Troops 3.[17] However, Machida was pulled from the bout in favor of a matchup with Mark Muñoz on October 26, 2013 at UFC Fight Night 30, after Muñoz's original opponent, Michael Bisping was forced out of their bout with an injury.[18] Kennedy instead faced Rafael Natal in the event headliner.[19] He won the fight via knockout in the first round. The win also earned him his first Knockout of the Night bonus award.[20]

Personal life

Kennedy has two daughters. He fathered Sabrina with female mixed martial artist Casey Noland.[21]

Championships and awards

  • Extreme Challenge
    • Extreme Challenge Middleweight Tournament winner
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • Knockout of the Night (One time)

Mixed martial arts record

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 17–4 Rafael Natal KO (punch) UFC: Fight for the Troops 3 November 6, 2013 1 4:40 Fort Campbell, Kentucky, United States Knockout of the Night.
Win 16–4 Roger Gracie Decision (unanimous) UFC 162 July 6, 2013 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 15–4 Trevor Smith Submission (guillotine choke) Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine January 12, 2013 3 1:36 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Loss 14–4 Luke Rockhold Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy July 14, 2012 5 5:00 Portland, Oregon, United States For the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.
Win 14–3 Robbie Lawler Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson July 30, 2011 3 5:00 Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States
Win 13–3 Melvin Manhoef Submission (rear naked choke) Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson March 5, 2011 1 3:41 Columbus, Ohio, United States
Loss 12–3 Ronaldo Souza Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Houston August 21, 2010 5 5:00 Houston, Texas, United States For the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.
Win 12–2 Trevor Prangley Submission (rear naked choke) Strikeforce: Los Angeles June 16, 2010 1 3:35 Los Angeles, California, United States
Win 11–2 Zak Cummings Submission (north-south choke) ShoMMA 3 September 25, 2009 2 2:43 Bixby, Oklahoma, United States
Win 10–2 Nick Thompson Submission (punches) ShoMMA 2 June 19, 2009 2 2:37 Kent, Washington, United States
Win 9–2 Elias Rivera KO (punches) IFL: World Grand Prix Finals December 29, 2007 1 2:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States
Loss 8–2 Jason Miller Decision (unanimous) HDNetFIGHTS: Reckless Abandon December 15, 2007 3 5:00 Dallas, Texas, United States
Win 8–1 Ryan McGivern Submission (guillotine choke) IFL: Chicago June 19, 2007 2 1:25 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 7–1 Dante Rivera Submission (punches) IFL: Atlanta February 23, 2007 2 2:29 Atlanta, Georgia, United States Fought at Light Heavyweight.
Win 6–1 Hector Urbina KO (punches) Fight Fest 7 September 23, 2006 1 1:28 Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Win 5–1 Cruz Chacon TKO (punches) Extreme Challenge 50 February 23, 2003 2 1:21 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States Won Extreme Challenge Middleweight Tournament.
Win 4–1 Jason Miller Decision (unanimous) Extreme Challenge 50 February 23, 2003 3 5:00 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Win 3–1 Ryan Narte TKO (punches) Extreme Challenge 50 February 23, 2003 1 1:22 Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Win 2–1 Mack Brewer TKO (punches) WEC 5 October 18, 2002 1 1:03 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 1–1 Jody Burke Submission (forearm choke) IFC: Warriors Challenge 16 November 9, 2001 1 0:44 Oroville, California, United States
Loss 0–1 Scott Smith TKO (doctor stoppage) IFC: Warriors Challenge 15 August 31, 2001 1 2:53 Oroville, California, United States


  1. Morgan, Adam. "Tim Kennedy: Full Time Soldier, Full Time Fighter". Five Ounces of Pain. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  2. "Annual Ranger Muster 2010". US Army Ranger Association. 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  3. "TIM KENNEDY - SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW". Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  4. Malone, Kieran. "After returning from Afghanistan, Strikeforce's Tim Kennedy returns to MMA action Friday". Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  5. Snowden, Jonathan. "Tim Kennedy: Army Strong". Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  6. Chiappetta, Mike. "Army Green Beret Tim Kennedy Restarts MMA Career With Strikeforce". Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  7. Kennedy, Tim. "I am Deployed Again, Part I". Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  8. Kennedy, Tim. "I Am Deployed Again, Part II". Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  9. Kennedy, Tim. "Tim Kennedy Deployed, Part 3". Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  10. "Kennedy vs. Prangley at "Strikeforce: Los Angeles" on June 16". Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  11. Michelle Tan (27 May 2010). "Details of Tim Kennedy's next fight announced". Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  12. Strikeforce adds Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith to Nov. 3 Oklahoma Fight Card (September 20, 2012)
  13. Strikeforce cancels Nov. 3 event in Oklahoma City, plans January return (October 12, 2012)
  14. Larkin-Souza, Kennedy-Smith added to January Strikeforce card by Matt Erickson ( on November 29, 2012
  15. "UFC Reveals List of Strikeforce Fighters Making Jump to Octagon". January 16, 2013. 
  16. Staff (2013-03-04). "Roger Gracie To Fight Tim Kennedy At UFC 162". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  17. Staff (2013-08-21). "Lyoto Machida drops to 185, meets Tim Kennedy at UFC Fight for the Troops 3". Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  18. Staff (2013-09-27). "Michael Bisping out at UFC Fight Night 30, Lyoto Machida now faces Mark Munoz". Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  19. staff (2013-10-01). "Tim Kennedy gets Rafael Natal at UFC's 'Fight for the Troops 3'". Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  20. Staff. "UFC Fight Night 31 bonuses: Kennedy, Chiesa, Khabilov, Masvidal win $50,000". Retrieved 2014-11-06. 
  21. "Noland to fight in front of home crowd at Cal Poly". 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 

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