Road to Venkon Fight Night 2: interview with Derrick Kennington
A new beginning, after many adversities inside and outside the cage. Both for Alessandro Botti and for Derrick Kennington (13-10 MMA) Venkon Fight Night 2 is the right occasion to restart their careers in Mixed Martial Arts. In anticipation of the bout scheduled for January 21st, DK has spoken to MMA Today , revealing his feelings coming into his next important fight against Barzanò’s own.
MMA Today: Fighting in Italy is a peculiar choice for an American athlete: what convinced you to accept Venkon’s offer?
Derrick Kennington: Fighting overseas has been a dream of mine for years. I had a fight lined up in Kuwait over a year ago, however due to an injury I wasn’t able to fight. I was offered to fight up a weight class from my normal fighting weight for Italy and didn’t hesitate to say yes. A friend of mine that I met in the martial arts community over 10 years ago, Jeff Jimmo, offered me the opportunity that was brought to him, so he reached out to see if I was interested. I had been lifting weights and working on my strength, so now I can get stronger and perform without worrying about my weight too much. So accepting the offer was a dream come true. I’m so excited to fighting in Italy. There have been many great battles in this country, it’s an honor to come and fight for Venkon!
MT: Like you, Alessandro Botti is a fighter who wants to relaunch himself and make a statement in his career. Have you got the chance to study him in a particular way? If so, what impressed you most about him?
DK: I have had a chance to watch a lot of his footage, he is a game opponent with a durable chin. That’s about it.
MT: You are experiencing a complicated moment in terms of results, alternated between victories and losses: what adjustments have you made to find a certain continuity in your record?
DK: Last year was the toughest year of my life, I believe. I had to deal with a lot of personal demons in my mind and was in a bad place mentally. However, 6 months before my last fight, I was able to snap out of it through lots of meditation. Sounds crazy, but it works. I am a completely different person.
MT: You already had a taste of high-level MMA, appearing twice in the Bellator’s cage, as well as performing in front of Dana White during NEF: Looking For A Fight. Do you think that a success at VFN would take you in the right direction to get back to the most important stages in sport?
DK: Nothing I have done in the past matters to me anymore. This is a New me. I’m going to continue to perform to the best of my abilities non stop. I am ready to get to the top and fighting for Venkon FC is going to help me get there.
MT: You are a veteran of military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. How much of this intense experience has helped you in managing certain situations in the world of MMA?
DK: I think the military taught me a lot about mind over matter. Being able to push my body and mind to limits that a lot of civilians don’t really understand. It’s a mentality that is a military mindset. Not all people in the military have that though. However I was able to do a lot of awesome stuff in the military with some really awesome units across the world. You get to meet and learn from all different walks of life. I’m able to push through pain and workouts a little longer even now, after being out of the army for over 3 years. I honestly feel like I’m in the best shape of my life right now.