Who is Tim Kennedy? Exploring the military veteran’s record inside the UFC octagon

Tim Kennedy previously fought in the UFC and Strikeforce while serving in the US military [Photo Courtesy @timkennedymma on Instagram]
Tim Kennedy previously fought in the UFC and Strikeforce while serving in the US military [Photo Courtesy @timkennedymma on Instagram]

Modern MMA fans recognize Benoit Saint-Denis for his time in the French army before his fighting career, but Tim Kennedy is often regarded as the fighter with the most notable military background.

Throughout the history of MMA, several fighters had previously served in the military but Kennedy had the most successful career. Simultaneously excelling in both careers, Kennedy earned the rank of Master Sergeant and received the Bronze Star Medal courtesy of the United States government.

Now retired, Kennedy has remained in elite physical shape and still posts content of himself training on social media.

Throughout his 24-fight MMA career, Tim Kennedy never won a major world title, losing his only opportunity to Luke Rockhold for the Strikeforce middleweight championship in 2012. Of his 18 professional wins, the American most notably defeated Michael Bisping, Melvin Manhoef, Roger Gracie, Jason Miller and Robbie Lawler.

Appearing in five UFC fights following the promotion's acquisition of Strikeforce, Kennedy went 3-2, ending his career with a Fight of the Night loss to Yoel Romero before falling to Kelvin Gastelum by TKO.

Following the final fight of his career on Dec. 10, 2016, Tim Kennedy re-enlisted in the Army Special Forces in 2017.

What is Tim Kennedy doing now?

In the eight years since his final fight in the octagon in 2016, Tim Kennedy has not stopped carving out his legacy.

Along with resuming his activity in the military, Kennedy has been involved in the entertainment business. The former fighter is credited as an active stuntman while also being a television host for the History Channel and Discovery Channel.

Per his social media, Kennedy appears to occasionally teach MMA classes while being active in the fitness industry as a health enthusiast.

In 2019, Kennedy was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame, being one of just 10 MMA fighters currently to receive the honor. As of Mar. 11, only 68 total athletes have been inducted.

Along with Kennedy, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey, Bas Rutten, Stipe Miocic, Ron Van Clief, Forrest Griffin, Frank Shamrock, Royce Gracie and Kayla Harrison are the only athletes in MMA to be recognized by the committee. Combat sports announcer Michael Buffer and Invicta FC founder Shannon Knapp have previously been entered into the Hall of Fame but have no professional fighting background.

Couture was the first fighter to make the list in the organization's inaugural 2012 class with Harrison being the most recent addition in 2023.

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