"Mayhem" Miller vs. Tim Kennedy III possible for Jan. 29 Strikeforce event
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Dec 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm ET
A trilogy fight between middleweights Jason "Mayhem" Miller (24-7 MMA, 1-1 SF) and Tim Kennedy (12-3 MMA, 3-1 SF) could be part of the Jan. 29 Showtime-televised Strikeforce event in San Jose, Calif.
Sources close to the fighters told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) both contenders are interested in the matchup, which soon could be signed.
If so, it'd end weeks of speculation and bickering over a once-likely (but now unlikely) Miller vs. Nick Diaz matchup.
The fight, though, remains unsigned, and both Strikeforce and Showtime officials would have to approve it. A Strikeforce spokesperson told MMAjunkie.com the fight card still is being determined for the HP Pavilion event, and Showtime officials weren't immediately available for comment.
Over the past month, Diaz, who is Strikeforce's current welterweight champ, and Miller, who's a rival who clashed with the titleholder during an infamous post-event brawl at an April Strikeforce event, publicly have discussed a potential meeting. But the sides can't agree on a weight for the fight. Mille wants the bout at middleweight, a weight at which Diaz previously has stated he'd fight. But as Diaz's trainer, Cesar Gracie, recently told MMAjunkie.com, they're not willing to fight heavier than 178 pounds.
"Apparently, 'Mayhem' can't make 170," Gracie said. "We're not going to accommodate going to 185. It doesn't really make that much sense to call someone out, and the champ has to ... go to your weight class (for the fight)."
Miller, though, wants Diaz to follow through on past comments that he'd be willing to fight at 185 pounds.
With an apparent stalemate – and with negotiations never advancing beyond the earliest stages – Miller vs. Kennedy III instead could be Strikeforce's play. And it's certainly a marketable fight.
At Extreme Challenge 50 in 2003, little-known Kennedy scored an upset of Miller with a unanimous-decision win. Four years later, when HDNet Fights promoted a pair of its own cards in Dallas, the rematch served as the headliner, and Miller narrowly escaped a submission and ultimately won the decision to even the score. A potential Strikeforce title fight could be on the line if the rubber match is secured.
After signing with Strikeforce in 2009, Kennedy, a decorated military veteran, posted consecutive submission wins over Nick Thompson, Zak Cummings and Trevor Prangley to earn a shot at Jake Shields' vacant belt. However, back in August, he suffered a decision loss to Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, who won and still holds the belt.
Miller, who's fought for virtually every major MMA promotion during his 10-year career, is riding a two-fight winning streak since a late-2009 loss to Shields. Back in April, he scored a TKO win over Tim Stout at "Strikeforce: Nashville" (and jump-started a melee with Team Gracie when he interrupted Shields post-fight speech to demand a rematch). Then, back in August, he headed overseas and submitted Kazushi Sakuraba at DREAM.16.