Tim Kennedy (fighter)

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Tim Kennedy
UFC fighter Tim Kennedy with a soldier at Camp Bondsteel 051716 (cropped).jpg
Tim Kennedy at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo in 2016
Born (1979-09-01) September 1, 1979 (age 43)
San Luis Obispo, California, United States
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
DivisionLight Heavyweight
Reach74 in (188 cm)[1]
Fighting out ofAustin, Texas, United States
TeamJackson Wink MMA Academy
Rank2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[2] under Royler Gracie[3]
Black belt in Jujitsu under Terry Keller and Barry Smith[4]
Black belt in Matt Larsen's Modern Army Combative Program[2]
Years active2001-2003, 2006-2016, 2021-
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout6
By submission8
By decision4
By knockout3
By decision3
Amateur record
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Military career
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service2004–present
RankArmy-USA-OR-08b.svg Master Sergeant[5]
Unit7th Special Forces Group
19th Special Forces Group[6]
20th Special Forces Group[6]
Battles/warsIraq War
War in Afghanistan
Operation Juniper Shield

Timothy Fred Kennedy (born September 1, 1979) is a retired American mixed martial artist and current soldier. A professional from 2001 until 2016, he has fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, the WEC, ShoMMA, HDNet Fights, and represented the Chicago Red Bears in the IFL. Kennedy is one of the few fighters to simultaneously serve in the United States Army and fight professionally. He is also a television host, producer, and entrepreneur.


Kennedy grew up the second son of three children in a Christian family in Atascadero, California. He is of Irish descent.[7] 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 boxing lessons, wrestling teams, and Japanese ju-jitsu classes.[8]

Military career[edit]

Tim Kennedy joined the Army on January 4, 2004, and completed Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, Airborne School, Special Forces Assessment and Selection and the Special Forces Qualification Course. Kennedy 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[9] and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group,[10] where he served on Operational Detachment Alpha. During this time he was also a sniper, sniper instructor, and the principal combatives instructor for C Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. Kennedy deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) multiple times.[11]

In August 2009, Kennedy transitioned from active duty to the Texas Army National Guard, joined 19th Special Forces Group and served in the position of Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, and has continued to serve with the Texas Army National Guard since then.

Among Kennedy's multiple awards are the Army's Bronze Star Medal.

On April 16, 2017, Kennedy announced his reenlistment into the U.S. Army Special Forces, praising the leadership of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.[12]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Kennedy began training at Dokan School of Martial Arts in Atascadero, California under Terry Kelly and Barry Smith. He first started fighting in 1996, amassing a record of 30–1 over the next five years. In 1999, Kennedy began training with Chuck Liddell, Jake Shields, Gan McGee, and John Hackleman at The Pit in San Luis Obispo.[13] 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.[14][15][16]


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.[17] 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.[18]

Kennedy lost a 5-round decision to Ronaldo Souza for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship at Strikeforce: Houston on August 21, 2010. He was expected to face Jason Miller again on March 5, 2011, at Strikeforce 32.[citation needed] However, Miller was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Melvin Manhoef. He won via submission in the first round. He returned in July 2011 to face Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. He won the bout via unanimous decision. He faced Luke Rockhold on July 14, 2012, for the Strikeforce Middleweight championship at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[citation needed]

Kennedy was expected to face Trevor Smith on November 3, 2012, at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir.[19] However, the event was cancelled due to injuries to headliner Frank Mir, as well to co-headliner and middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.[20] This bout eventually took place on January 12, 2013, at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.[21] Kennedy won via submission in the third round.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

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.[22]

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.[23]

Kennedy was expected to face Lyoto Machida on November 6, 2013, at UFC Fight For The Troops 3.[24] 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.[25] Kennedy instead faced Rafael Natal in the event headliner.[26] He won the fight via knockout in the first round. The win also earned him his first Knockout of the Night bonus award.[27]

For his third fight with the promotion, Kennedy faced Michael Bisping on April 16, 2014, at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale.[28] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[29]

Kennedy faced Yoel Romero on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178.[30] He lost the fight via TKO in the third round. Kennedy nearly finished Romero in the final seconds of the second round but Romero was saved by the bell. Yoel Romero, his cornermen, the referee and the UFC cutman have all been criticized for their actions resulting in a 28-second delay after the scheduled start for the third round.[31] Romero later responded to the controversy, stating that Tim Kennedy illegally held his glove during the attack which prevented Romero from being able to block the punches that rocked him.[32] Despite the loss, Kennedy earned a Fight of the Night bonus award.[33]

After two years away from the sport, Kennedy was expected to face Rashad Evans on November 12, 2016, at UFC 205, the first UFC card at Madison Square Garden.[34] However, on November 8, Evans was pulled from the fight after an undisclosed irregularity was found during his pre-fight medical exam. In turn, Kennedy was removed from the card as well.[35][36] The bout was quickly rescheduled to take place a month later at UFC 206.[37] Once again, Evans was unable to obtain medical clearance to compete on the card and was pulled from the bout on November 21.[38] Kennedy faced Kelvin Gastelum.[39] He lost the fight via TKO in the third round.[40]

On January 17, 2017, Kennedy released a social media statement announcing his retirement from MMA.[41] In the post he admitted that he no longer desired to fight professionally and thanked those closest to him for their support. He also thanked the US Army, claiming that there was 'no greater moment' than his victory in the main event of UFC: Fight for the Troops 3.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Kennedy is married to Ginger Kennedy and they have three kids and reside in Texas.

He is a co-owner of Ranger Up, a military-based clothing company. He's also the owner and “MF”CEO of Sheepdog Response a tactical training and self-defense company.[43][44]

In 2020, Kennedy opened an Acton Academy, a K-12 charter school built off of the Acton School of Business model.[45][46]

Film and television career[edit]

Kennedy's first major host role was part of the History Channel television series Hunting Hitler, which explores alternative theories about Adolf Hitler's death. He most recently hosted the show on Discovery Channel Hard to Kill, in which he attempted to explore a day in the life of the world's most dangerous occupations. He helped co-produce the TV documentary Warriors in 2014 and produced Not a War Story in 2017; he also produced and hosted Iron Dragon TV. He's made appearances on Deadliest Warrior and The Ultimate Soldier Challenge.[47]

Kennedy portrayed himself in the Indie film Range 15. He also played Mario and was a producer in the short thriller Slaves. He's also done several military advisor roles & stunt coordinator positions notably with Range 15 as well as works on Steve-O: Guilty as Charged, and short film Next to You.[48]

Military awards[edit]

Kennedy's awards include:

Championships and awards[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
24 matches 18 wins 6 losses
By knockout 8 3
By submission 6 0
By decision 4 3
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 18–6 Kelvin Gastelum TKO (punches) UFC 206 December 10, 2016 3 2:45 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Loss 18–5 Yoel Romero TKO (punches) UFC 178 September 27, 2014 3 0:58 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 18–4 Michael Bisping Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale: Bisping vs. Kennedy April 16, 2014 5 5:00 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Win 17–4 Rafael Natal KO (punches) 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) Strikeforce Challengers: Kennedy vs. Cummings September 25, 2009 2 2:43 Bixby, Oklahoma, United States
Win 10–2 Nick Thompson TKO (submission to punches) Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg 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 TKO (submission to punches) IFL: Atlanta February 23, 2007 2 2:29 Atlanta, Georgia, United States Light Heavyweight bout.
Win 6–1 Héctor 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 the 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 Return to Middleweight.
Win 2–1 Mack Brewer TKO (punches) WEC 5: Halloween Havoc October 18, 2002 1 1:03 Lemoore, California, United States Light Heavyweight debut.
Win 1–1 Jody Burke Submission (forearm choke) IFC: Warriors Challenge 16 November 9, 2001 1 0:44 Oroville, California, United States Welterweight debut.
Loss 0–1 Scott Smith TKO (doctor stoppage) IFC: Warriors Challenge 15 August 31, 2001 1 2:53 Oroville, California, United States

Books published[edit]

Kennedy, T., & Palmisciano, N. (2022). Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story of Fighting the Taliban, UFC Warriors, and Myself. Atria Books.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fight Card – TUF Nations Finale Bisping vs. Kennedy". UFC.com. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Tim Kennedy – Official UFC Fighter Profile". UFC.com. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  3. ^ Tim Kennedy [@TimKennedyMMA] (June 30, 2016). "@oakfan71 black belt under @RoylerGracie" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Robert Young (February 13, 2012). "Tim Kennedy on Traditional Martial Arts vs. Mixed Martial Arts and How to Get Started in MMA". blackbeltmag.com.
  5. ^ "The Push for Pullups: Why Soldiers Want it Added to the PT Test". Army Times. June 11, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "SFC TIM KENNEDY (ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS, OIF, OEF VETERAN)". thevetsproject.com. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  7. ^ "I'm Irish by decent" – https://twitter.com/TimKennedyMMA/status/675914982073044992
  8. ^ Morgan, Adam. "Tim Kennedy: Full Time Soldier, Full Time Fighter". Five Ounces of Pain. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  9. ^ "Annual Ranger Muster 2010" (PDF) (Press release). US Army Ranger Association. 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  10. ^ "TIM KENNEDY – SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW". Blackfive.net. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  11. ^ Malone, Kieran. "After returning from Afghanistan, Strikeforce's Tim Kennedy returns to MMA action Friday". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  12. ^ "Military 'Got Its Teeth Back': FMR UFC Fighter Reenlists After ISIS Gets Bombed". April 16, 2017.
  13. ^ Chiappetta, Mike. "Army Green Beret Tim Kennedy Restarts MMA Career With Strikeforce". MMAFanhouse.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  14. ^ Kennedy, Tim. "I am Deployed Again, Part I". RangerUp.com. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  15. ^ Kennedy, Tim. "I Am Deployed Again, Part II". RangerUp.com. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  16. ^ Kennedy, Tim. "Tim Kennedy Deployed, Part 3". RangerUp.com. Archived from the original on February 6, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  17. ^ "Kennedy vs. Prangley at "Strikeforce: Los Angeles" on June 16". mmajunkie.com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  18. ^ Michelle Tan (May 27, 2010). "Details of Tim Kennedy's next fight announced". blogs.militarytimes.com. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  19. ^ Strikeforce adds Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith to Nov. 3 Oklahoma Fight Card MMAWeekly.com (September 20, 2012)
  20. ^ Strikeforce cancels Nov. 3 event in Oklahoma City, plans January return MMAJunkie.com (October 12, 2012)
  21. ^ Larkin-Souza, Kennedy-Smith added to January Strikeforce card by Matt Erickson (MMAJunkie.com) on November 29, 2012
  22. ^ "UFC Reveals List of Strikeforce Fighters Making Jump to Octagon". sherdog.com. January 16, 2013.
  23. ^ Staff (March 4, 2013). "Roger Gracie To Fight Tim Kennedy At UFC 162". fightofthenight.com. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  24. ^ Staff (August 21, 2013). "Lyoto Machida drops to 185, meets Tim Kennedy at UFC Fight for the Troops 3". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  25. ^ Staff (September 27, 2013). "Michael Bisping out at UFC Fight Night 30, Lyoto Machida now faces Mark Munoz". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  26. ^ staff (October 1, 2013). "Tim Kennedy gets Rafael Natal at UFC's 'Fight for the Troops 3'". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  27. ^ Staff (November 7, 2013). "UFC Fight Night 31 bonuses: Kennedy, Chiesa, Khabilov, Masvidal win $50,000". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  28. ^ Staff (January 30, 2014). "Michael Bisping cleared for TUF Nations Finale headliner with Tim Kennedy". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  29. ^ Cole, Ross (April 17, 2014). "Tim Kennedy Earns Decision Victory Over Michael Bisping At TUF Nations Finale". Fight of the Night. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  30. ^ Zane Simon (July 8, 2014). "Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero slated for UFC 178 in Las Vegas". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  31. ^ Marc Raimondi and Damon Martin (September 28, 2014). "Stoolgate: Tim Kennedy irate about controversial loss to Yoel Romero". foxsports.com. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  32. ^ "Romero: Tim Kennedy Cheated". bjpenn.com. December 21, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  33. ^ Matt Erickson (September 28, 2014). "UFC 178 bonuses: McGregor, Cruz, Romero, Kennedy earn $50,000". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  34. ^ Nick Baldwin (August 15, 2016). "Tim Kennedy vs. Rashad Evans in the works for NYC's UFC 205". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  35. ^ Jose Youngs (November 8, 2016). "Rashad Evans pulled from UFC 205 fight against Tim Kennedy". fansided.com. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  36. ^ Ariel Helwani (November 8, 2016). "Rashad Evans vs. Tim Kennedy fight scratched from UFC 205". mmafighting.com. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  37. ^ Mike Bohn (November 9, 2016). "Rashad Evans vs. Tim Kennedy rescheduled for UFC 206 in Toronto". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  38. ^ Steven Marrocco (November 21, 2016). "Manager: Rashad Evans not cleared to fight at UFC 206". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  39. ^ Tristen Critchfield (November 26, 2016). "Pending commission approval, Tim Kennedy vs. Kelvin Gastelum set for UFC 206". sherdog.com. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  40. ^ Ben Fowlkes (December 10, 2016). "UFC 206 results: Kelvin Gastelum picks apart Tim Kennedy for third-round TKO". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  41. ^ "Photo". m.facebook.com. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  42. ^ Dan Stupp (January 17, 2017). "UFC middleweight contender, ex-Strikeforce title challenger Tim Kennedy announces retirement". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  43. ^ "K2 Sponsors UFC fighter, Tim Kennedy". k2si.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  44. ^ Range 15 movie adds William Shatner – nears 900K funding mark, outsidethewire.armytimes.com, August 11, 2015; accessed October 27, 2015. Is an avid Trump supported
  45. ^ "Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  46. ^ "Apogee Cedar Park: an Acton Academy | Cedar Park City, TX". Apogee Cedar Park: an Acton Academy. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  47. ^ "Hunting Hitler Full Episodes, Video & More". HISTORY. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  48. ^ "Noland to fight in front of home crowd at Cal Poly". Sanluisobispo.com. May 18, 2010. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  49. ^ Kennedy, Tim; Palmisciano, Nick (2022). Scars and stripes : an unapologetically American story of fighting the Taliban, UFC warriors, and myself (1st ed.). New York. ISBN 978-1-9821-9091-0. OCLC 1298711570.

External links[edit]