Tim Kennedy Exclusive Interview for SwoleScience.com
Tim Kennedy is not only one of the top mixed martial arts contenders in the world but is also a decorated military veteran that continues to serve full time while competing in mixed martial arts. Tim Kennedy has won 6 of his last 7 fights, is a decorated special forces Green Beret operative with multiple tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, this remarkable decorated hero has defeated multiple opponents in a single night, has won the Army’s Combative fight tournament three years in a row and received the Army’s Bronze Star medal for valor under fire. Having fought for the StrikeForce fight promotion, which was recently acquired by UFC parent company Zuffa, there is no limit for this relentless and astounding athlete. Tim Kennedy’s unreal athletic ability coupled with his unfaltering mental constitution and dedication have allowed him to rise not only to the elite of combat sports but in the armed forces as well. Tim Kennedy displays extraordinary and unyielding dedication not only to his country, but to the pursuit of excellence within all aspects of his athletic endeavors, and has shown that he will never be satisfied until he is the undisputed best of the best in any field of battle.
Tim Kennedy Exclusive Interview for SwoleScience.com conducted by Papa Swole.
SwoleScience- Thanks for doing the Interview, How are you doing?
Tim Kennedy- Doing good…let’s do it!
SwoleScience- You’ve amassed a very impressive fight record, going 6-1 in your last 7 fights, what do you think has been the biggest contributor to your success as a fighter?
Tim Kennedy- Work ethic and military discipline.
SwoleScience- How did you get into mixed martial arts and what has your evolution been like to get where you are today?
Tim Kennedy- I started out doing martial arts as a kid doing stuff like karate. I’m from San Luis Obispo, California and The Pit was there with John Hackleman, Chuck Liddell, Scott Adams, Dan McGee, and Jake Shields. This was before MMA was really anything and at the time i was just bouncing around from jiu jitsu gyms and where ever I could find a place to train. I was the big guy of the gym, I was like 16 and I thought I was a little badass and Jake Shields just balled me up! Out wrestled me, beat the piss out of me on my feet…and I was like “what the crap?!”. So I asked him, “where do you guys train at?” and he said “well we train at the pit”…so I asked “could I come over there?”. So I went over there and Chuck beat my head for about two years, and then I started getting a little bit better.
SwoleScience- You famously stated that you train three times a day, what does your current training regimen consist of? Take us through the life of Tim Kennedy with regard to training.
Tim Kennedy- That’s hard because everything is so different. I’ll take you through it like this-
- Monday-Strength and conditioning in the morning, mid-day I do pads, and then evening I do grappling.
- Tuesday- Power strength and conditioning (olympic lifts), mid-day I have off, and then that evening I spar.
- Wednesday- Is my light day. I do swimming in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, and then that night is pads.
- Thursday- Strength and conditioning in the morning and then at night is hard sparring.
- Friday- Metabolic conditioning and then recovery such as yoga, swimming, or stretching.
- Saturday- Another 3-a-day. Have Muay Thai in morning, sprints (parachute or field sprints). I go to a different gym, do MMA and then do sparring in the afternoon.
- And then I take Sunday off.
SwoleScience- How are you able to train so consistently and constantly without overtraining and hindering performance?
Tim Kennedy- Training smart and knowing when to put the things that help you recover quicker, that is very important. Having to know when to stick yoga, ice pack, or swimming in there. Just being an intelligent athlete. I think as the sport grows, the athletes are growing, the athletes get smarter and more exposed to different training techniques. I will be able to go to the Gatorade Sports Science Center this year, and I’ll be the second MMA athlete that has ever been there. It’s just cool to see that finally people are recognizing the elite athletes that we are. We’re a different kind of athlete, no one has been like us before, and I don’t think anyone is going to be like us for a while. Having the flexibility and being able to generate the amount of power is very tricky.
SwoleScience- So you’re known for having incredible cardio but you seem to be an anomaly within the sports world by being extremely muscular for your size. How are you able to maintain such a level of size, strength along with such impressive cardio?
Tim Kennedy- Discipline and hard work. Putting those sprints in your workout program, putting the swimming, and metabolic conditioning. I have specific weeks where I just focus on that met con and for example today I did the same met con I did when I fought Jacaré (Ronaldo Souza), and my time to the second of what I did a year ago, we can see where I was cardiovascularly where I was a year ago, can measure lactic acid build up, heart rate, and get a very, very clear picture as to where you are conditioning wise if you standardize what your test is for that. Again being smart how you train.
SwoleScience- What types of supplements do you use and find the most effective?
Tim Kennedy- I’ve been sponsored by Fahrenheit nutrition and they had some really great stuff but just to be honest and truthful, I really bounce around between Max Muscle products, Fahrenheit protein- their slow releasing protein mix so when I go to bed I take a protein shake with protein that takes my body longer t0 digest, use beta alanine some days before my workouts, and use the nitric oxide ‘blast’ on my big strength days.
SwoleScience- After winning twice this year, the purchase of StrikeForce by Zuffa, there has been a tremendous amount of speculation surrounding your career. What is your next move regarding your fight career?
Tim Kennedy- I have no idea (laughs), if you know, will you let me know? Ah, I don’t think anyone knows anything in StrikeForce right now. I know that they are talking about me fighting certain guys, all of which I would be thrilled to fight in the UFC, but with what they’re saying is going to be happening with StrikeForce this year is going to change everything, it is going to change the perception of the promotion, change how people view us as athletes who have fought for StrikeForce. Guys going out there like Dan Henderson, who looks really good in the UFC thus far, guys like Gilbert Melendez who is the number one welterweight in the world, who I think would beat up everybody in the UFC, and people need to understand that an athlete is an athlete no matter where they fought before. Dana is supporting that, and guys moving back and forth between the promotions will be an exciting product. I’m training as if I’m fighting early 2012, I don’t have a specific date but I have some names that are possible, and I’m praying for those guys, but it’s all speculation and rumors at this point.
SwoleScience- What fight has been your most challenging so far to this date?
Tim Kennedy- Any fight that I have to look at the judges afterwards. I hate judges.
SwoleScience- You recently lost to Ronaldo Souza in a controversial decision for the StrikeForce middleweight championship, can you take us through that fight and your assessment of the decision?
Tim Kennedy- I wasn’t cage side, I was in the cage, and I felt I out struck him, definitely out grappled him, thought I was dictating the face, but you know I guess he was prettier than I was at the end of the fight. I was mad, but that’s in the past, I don’t care and I would love to fight him again.
SwoleScience- Who would you like to fight next? Just off the top of your head?
Tim Kennedy- Michael Bisping
SwoleScience- Along those same lines who would you like to have fought alive/dead/retired, regardless of weight class?
Tim Kennedy- Anderson Silva, Hitler, and the Kardashian girls…all at the same time.
SwoleScience- First off, I would like to commend you for being a member of the armed forces and thank you for your service to this country. What is your military background?
Tim Kennedy- Enlisted in 03′, went to basic training in 04′, went to special forces qualifying course in 05′, went to ranger school in 06′, and went to Iraq in 05′-’06’, and went to Afghanistan in 07′-08′, went to sniper school. So I’m a special forces sniper ranger qualified green beret.
SwoleScience- What was the most extreme situation that you faced in combat?
Tim Kennedy- Getting ambushed, blown up by an IED and shot at for three days.
SwoleScience- Do you believe that your military background has helped you in developing your mixed martial arts career?
Tim Kennedy- Yeah definitely. It has given me a lot and I’m more disciplined. When I first started fighting I genetically had a lot of gifts from my both amazing parents, my dad was an Olympic athlete and I just got away with a lot of things based on my athleticism. I was a bad athlete and when I say bad I mean not disciplined, not focused, not training right. I’d party and then I’d go fight, and you know those days are so long behind me I can’t even believe I’m the same person. I never drink, eat right all the time, train hard all the time, so the biggest thing that cause this change was the discipline that the military gave me.
SwoleScience- What are your plans for your military career? Are you done?
Tim Kennedy- No definitely not. I’m still with the 19th division special forces group, and I’m going to give fighting maybe another year or two and then if I don’t have gold wrapped around my waist or the prospect of that then I’m done. I think I’m one fight away from what Dana White would say is “In the mix”, and contention within the UFC, and in StrikeForce I’m the number one guy in line for the title. I want to get back to my real job, which is serving my country, and it’s the greatest country, and the greatest job in the world. Fighting has been a wonderful time in my life because I get to be with my family and not overseas but I have to get back to work.
SwoleScience- What would you say is your biggest weakness as a fighter?
Tim Kennedy- My biggest weakness would also be my biggest attribute and asset, and that would be my work ethic. The reason I missed this last title fight was I was getting Brian Stann ready for his last fight with Chael Sonnen, I went through his whole fight camp with him, and then as soon as I came back so I went into my own fight camp, and was in fight camp for four months, and my body was basically like “you can go suck a ****”.
SwoleScience- What is the most important piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring fighters?
Tim Kennedy- Be patient. Not everyone is a Jon Jones who can start fighting and be a champion four years later. Put your time into your classes. Go to jiu jitsu, get your purple or brown belt before you even take your first amateur fight. Get your black belt before you turn pro. Get in there with that boxing coach and put in the hours and hours of mitt time. Get in your head and foot movement. These are the things that I neglected three quarters of my career and now I’m a 31 year old fighter trying to change how I fought, it’s not very easy compared to a 17 year old kid who can get in there with a boxing coach and teaching him how to throw a jab properly and not trying to learn it 10 years later is definitely a lot better. Be patient and put your time in with the right coaches.
SwoleScience- Thank you so much for the interview Tim and we look forward to speaking to you again in the future.
(Photos used with permission from Tim kennedy)
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