Strikeforce middleweight contender Tim Kennedy will be facing fellow top middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza tonight for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship and, while he is excited for the bout and for the opportunity, Kennedy is a bit disappointed that he did not have the chance to face legitimate champion Jake Shields (who recently parted ways with Strikeforce in favor of the UFC while still holding onto the Strikeforce belt). Kennedy recently spoke with MMAWeekly.com about his mixed emotions when it came to facing Sheilds.
“I did want to fight the legitimate champion,” Kennedy said. “I wanted to go in there and the champ has the belt. I’m the contender, and I beat the champ, and it’s my belt. And it’s my job to defend it. I was very excited and anxious for that and then it didn’t happen.”
Perhaps it is for the best that an eventual bout with Shields never came to fruition though, as the two have a long and positive history together.
“Jake and I, we’re not good friends, but we’ve known each other for 14 years now,” Kennedy revealed. “He was actually the one that introduced me to MMA, brought me from the Japanese martial arts school that I had been to The Pit.”
The Army Special Forces soldier expressed to MMAWeekly that he first met the prospect of fighting Shields with some hesitance but that he was beginning to accept the match as an inevitability.
“There were some apprehensions about the possibility of me fighting him, but the more fights I had in Strikeforce, the more inevitable that it seemed,” said Kennedy.
Now, Kennedy feels disappointed at not getting a chance to earn the legitimate belt but is staying positive for the opportunity that he has been given.
“I was bummed, but it doesn’t change how I’m doing this fight or how I trained for it,” he said. “Fortunately Jake and Jacare are kind of similar in how they approach their MMA fights, so it worked out well.”
Kennedy and “Jacare” will square off this evening at Strikeforce: Houston which is scheduled to take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.