Though he's fought professionally since 2001, middleweight Tim Kennedy is a relative newcomer to the UFC. On the other hand, his TUF: Nations Finale main event opponent tonight, Michael Bisping, is a seasoned veteran of the world's top MMA promotion.
The outspoken British star is not only confident in his own ability to get the win against Kennedy, he also believes that his opponent lacks professionalism, all-around. "Fighters should behave accordingly, because we're not court jesters. We're not kids working on a school project. We're professional athletes, and this guy is kind of cheapening the whole thing," Bisping said of the wise-cracking and often silly Kennedy in a recent interview with Steph Daniels.
"He's making these stupid videos. This isn't Comedy Central. We're not here to be judged on the best skit. It's about going out there and fighting to your best ability. I don't think he's representing the sport as he should. He's certainly representing himself well, but not the sport."
Bisping went even further, questioning how well the proud war veteran Kennedy represents his Army brothers and sisters. "I made the comment about him not representing the armed forces very well because he's acting like an idiot," Bisping said.
"I'm sure when he was in the service, he was a very good representative, but he's not a soldier any more. He needs to stop going on about it. Good for you, you did a great job. I commend the service you provided for your country, I really do, but you decided to leave the military to fight in the UFC. Your service days are over. Please stop talking about it. Focus on the fight at hand and what you have on your plate now."
At the end of the day, though, Bisping doesn't doubt that Kennedy might be a good person. Decent human being or not, however, Bisping is sure that Kennedy isn't a top fighter.
"I don't feel that he has what it takes to be a marquee fighter," he said.
"He's got his propaganda machine out there rolling with all these videos from Ranger Up. They're in the gym, and they're interviewing Jon Jones and all these other people he trains with. Of course they have nothing but great things to say, ‘Tim Kennedy comes in and teaches our children's class' or ‘Tim Kennedy came in to help with this fighter's training camp', but they're not saying Tim Kennedy will be the next champion. They're just saying that he's a hard worker. That's fine, but where are the comments about him knocking everyone out in sparring or that he's going to be the next big thing in this sport? They're just not saying those things at all.
"The world is full of hard workers and team players. Does that make you the stuff of world champions? No, it does not. I just don't see him having the ability."