It was a good ending of an emotional story at UFC Fight Night 31 for Tim Kennedy. He was able to knock out Rafael Natal in astonishing fashion in front of his military compatriots. He presented a fittingly heartfelt speech after his victory. On the business front, however, a win over Natal did little to help Kennedy in the long run.
A winner of four of his last five fights, Kennedy still lacks firm footing inside the UFC middleweight division. The most relevant victory of his past four has to be over Robbie Lawler back in 2011 inside Strikeforce. He has beaten Natal and Roger Gracie inside the octagon.
The injury to Michael Bisping, which ultimately led to Lyoto Machida taking his place against Mark Munoz, may have helped Kennedy land an opponent on his own skill level, but he lost an opportunity to impress against Machida. Would Kennedy beat Machida? No, but it would have looked good had he held his own.
Now with two fights behind him in the octagon and a potential injury from the fight, Kennedy finds himself basically in the same position he was in prior to Natal. At 34-years-old and 12 years of experience behind him, his chances at being relevant are slowly diminishing.
Pending his injury status, there are still potential fights out there for Kennedy. A showdown with Lorenz Larkin, who also competed at Fight Night 31, could be interesting. Larkin is 14-1 with his lone loss coming at the hands of Francis Carmont. A match up with Costa Philippou is also possible. With Philippou coming off a loss against Carmont, he will be looking for a rebound fight. If available, Kennedy could fill that void.