On Wednesday night's edition of FOX Sports Live, UFC President Dana White announced that Lyoto Machida's first figtht at Middleweight would be Tim Kennedy at UFC Fight for the Troops 3. Machida had previously avoided 185, as he was not interesting in challenging Blackhouse teammate Anderson Silva; with Silva's loss to Chris Weidman, the division was suddenly alluring.
Machida is coming off a remarkable run at light heavyweight, dropping a decision that most observers thought he won to Phi Davis, KOing Ryan Bader and Randy Couture, beating Dan Henderson via Split Decision, and losing to Jon Jones by Guillotine.
Kennedy is 4-1 his last five, losing only to Luke Rockhold, and most recently defeating Roger Gracie.
In an interview with B/R, the 33-year-old was ecstatic.
"I was super excited, totally pumped, thrilled, ecstatic, when I was told about the fight," said Kennedy. "I think he's always been a small light heavyweight, he should've been a middleweight a few years ago."
"He should've come down to middleweight sooner, which I think is the natural weight for him. I have the expectation it will be the best Machida since he won the title."
"Right after my last fight, I was asking to be on that card. The groups I represent are the Green Beret Foundation, Rhino Den, Ranger Up, and the Wounded Warriors, so it's really cool to be on this card. Emotionally, I'm very invested, and I have to be since I'm fighting a legend who is a dangerous fighter."
"I hope he comes to fight. I don’t want to chase the guy around for 15 minutes. That’s not the fight the fans want, the troops want. If he comes and fights, we’re gonna put on a great show."
"I know I’m not a marque name and I'm looked past by most guys. He is an example of a true fighter to me: my hat's off to Lyoto for being a real fighter and stepping up to the plate to fight me."
Kennedy was less effusive about Vitor Belfort, who stated the only fight he would take at 185 was a title bout. Belfort is instead fighting Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32 on November 9.
Both are on Testosterone Replacement Therapy, and Kennedy was disdainful.
"I wonder who is going to have higher testosterone levels during their fight camp?," said Kennedy. "The real competition for those two is who is going to have the highest testosterone levels during the fight camp. Just take their testosterone levels from four weeks out, and that's the winner of the fight, no reason for these guys to even meet in the cage."
"If you have a guy who can only fight in a scenario where hes injecting synthetic testosterone into his body, he shouldn’t be fighting."
"This is mixed martial arts - integrity, legacy, discipline - this is not Mark MaGwire baseball. He almost killed the sport of baseball. Somebody needs to come to grips this is damaging the sport."
"His requirement to fight me was to fight me in Brazil. If I get a call to fight, I'm told it's at this time, at this place and I accept. I don't go around being like 'well, I'm only going to fight so and so if we meet in Austin, Texas.' Fight clean, stop using steroids."
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