Tim Kennedy Considering Move To Welterweight To Face Robbie Lawler
UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy has a big fight coming up next month when he takes on Yoel Romero at UFC 178 in Las Vegas. The September 27 (2014) fight will see the No. 6 ranked Kennedy try and extend his UFC record to 3 – 0, while the No. 11 ranked Romero will be looking to add to his 4 – 0 senior circuit tally.
The match is an important fight for both. However, in listening to the 34-year-old Kennedy, it would appear that he has fights other than his upcoming bout with “The Soldier of God” on his mind.
In an interview with Bloody Elbow, Kennedy stated that he wants to be ready to fight in December should Vitor Belfort prove to be a scratch for his UFC 181 title fight with Chris Weidman. However, if that opportunity fails to come to fruition, Kennedy commented that he is considering dropping down to welterweight to face Robbie Lawler – the fighter that Kennedy believes will be the next 170-pound champion – and chasing him for his (new) title. A fight between the pair would be a rematch of their July 2011 Strikeforce fight, a bout that Kennedy won by way of unanimous decision victory. As Kennedy sees it, the first go-round was a “great fight” and he would be happy to do it again for a title shot.
“(Welterweight) is definitely still in consideration. Robbie Lawler is going to be fighting Johny Hendricks again. Lawler is a guy that I’ve fought before and we had a really great fight. I see Robbie getting that title and then I’m coming after him. I don’t know when this would happen, to be honest. There’s a lot going on right now. I’ve got a fight in front of me on September 27th and there’s a possibility I could need to be ready in December. If that doesn’t happen, and Joe Silva wanted to have a Strikeforce guys title eliminator series of sorts, I don’t know…maybe I could drop down and get a title shot there within a fight? I don’t know. We’ll have to see how the two divisions play out.”
Kennedy vs. Lawler II would be a great fight to be sure and Kennedy is at least being realistic in realizing he would have to secure at least one win, if not two, before getting a shot at the title and regardless of who holds the belt. However, when it comes to Lawler rematches that fans would like to see, it is likely that the bout fans will call for will be Lawler vs. Diaz II and not Lawler vs. Kennedy II. With Nick Diaz resigned to the UFC, a sequel bout to the pairs thrilling UFC 47 match of 2004, a fight that Diaz won by way of second round KO, is a contest that fans have been waiting on for a decade. As such, it is one that is likely to be on UFC President Dana White’s to-do list.
However, setting aside the possible matchups, the idea of Kennedy dropping down to welterweight is an intriguing one. Kennedy is a great fighter and a tough guy. At 18 – 4 and a finishing rate of 77%, he would be a great addition to an already stacked division. More to the point, at least from a career perspective, Kennedy might stand a much better chance of grabbing a welterweight title than he does a middleweight one. Yet, before Kennedy can worry about sliding into Belfort’s spot at UFC 181 or dropping down to welterweight to chase the 170-pound title, he has a little problem called Yoel Romero to deal with first and that problem is not easily solved.
Photo courtesy of Tim Kennedy