For the first time since 2010, the UFC® returns to the Frank Erwin Center for an action-packed night of intense showdowns between some of the world’s best mixed martial artists. Though not listed on the UFC FIGHT NIGHT™: EDGAR vs. SWANSON card set for Nov. 22, UFC fighter Tim Kennedy is one of the most recognizable names in MMA, and he happens to call Austin his home.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with Kennedy at his gym, Trauma Crossfit, in Round Rock, where the 7th ranked middleweight class fighter captivated us with tales not only of take downs and total knockouts, but also of cooking, piano-playing and military valor. Check out what we learned from the world-class fighter:
1. He’s a real American hero.
In addition to holding an impressive 18-5 professional fighting record, Kennedy served as a Special Forces Operator in the United States Army and completed hundreds of combat missions, eventually earning the Army’s Bronze Star for valor under fire. Having served as a Ranger, sniper and Green Beret, Kennedy refers to himself as “Unapologetically American.”
2. He has some pretty interesting hobbies.
In his spare time, you can find Kennedy riding his motorcycle, playing Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 on the piano, cooking, shooting guns and hunting. When we spoke to him, he was prepping for a trip to New Mexico to hunt bears. Kennedy knows his way around the kitchen, telling us he likes to focus “on the individual quality of each ingredient” he uses in his culinary ventures. “We don’t realize what we are putting into our bodies,” said Kennedy, who is also a strong advocate of the organic and sustainable food movements. Of course, every chef learns from his mistakes, and Kennedy is no exception. “The worst meal I ever made was snake,” Kennedy said, referring to the water moccasin that he cooked while evading capture during Army SERE training.
3. He’s fearless.
We asked him if he gets nervous before a fight. Kennedy says that he doesn’t really think much at all before entering the ring. Instead, his mind is clear and calm, focusing on the upcoming fight and nothing else. “I’ve been blown up and shot at in combat. What’s the worse that can happen?”
4. Training for a fight is a full time job.
Although Kennedy is currently in his standard two-month recovery period between fights, he still works out twice a day. During fight camp he works out four to five times a day, with ice baths and other recovery activities between training sessions, resulting in 10-12 hour days.
5. He’s a true Austinite.
Even though he was raised in California, Kennedy came to Texas as quickly as he could and proudly calls Austin his home. When he has a spare moment, one of his favorite places to visit is Jacob’s Well in Wimberly. The deepest underwater cave in Texas, Jacob’s Well offers treasure at the bottom for those brave enough to dive down. Kennedy proudly showed us a ring he discovered and retrieved after diving down 50 feet.
6. MMA Fighters are “smart and sweet.”
“Most of the UFC guys that I know are college graduates and are very smart,” Kennedy said. Head-punching aside, once MMA fighters leave the ring they just become extremely strong versions of everybody else, working hard and enjoying family, friends and good times.
7. UFC FIGHT NIGHT™: EDGAR vs. SWANSON is going to be one heck of a night.
We asked Kennedy what fans can expect to see on Nov. 22. His answer? “Fireworks. There is not a single fight in that lineup that doesn’t have the opportunity to be the fight of the year.”
You can meet Tim Kennedy this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 Fan Fest in downtown Austin. He will be meeting fans and smiling for pictures on Saturday, Nov. 1 from 1-3 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 2 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the joint UFC and Frank Erwin Center booth.
Sorry, this contest is over.
Visit the Frank Erwin Center website to see who's coming, and subscribe to Be the First to Know to get a jump on upcoming pre-sales and ticket giveaways.