It was announced at Hex Fight Series 5 on Saturday 20th February that former UFC fighter Brian Ebersole (51-17-1) would come out of retirement for one night only to fight former student and teammate Steven Kennedy (22-8) for the middleweight title at Hex FS 6 in June.
In what was a major boon for the Melbourne based promotion, Ebersole confirmed he got the call not long after Kennedy was released from the UFC after the Aussie suffered two straight losses against Peter Sobotta and Richy Walsh at UFC 193.
“The day he got cut the promoters (Hex FS) called and asked me if I would be interested in fighting him. I told them they better ask Steve first. It sounded like Steve was ready to retire himself but from what I heard he was happy to jump at the fight. With him being a former student and me being the teacher that I am I can’t really deny him the opportunity for one last lesson.” Ebersole told Fight News Australia.
Ebersole admits he was aware of Kennedy using his name for leverage with other promoters however he was surprised at the level of animosity.
“When I left Perth I heard rumblings that he was trying to use my name. A mutual friend of ours had heard him talking to a promoter saying how well he did against me, and how he trained with me all the time, and for that reason they should put him on their show.
“I don’t know where the animosity came from. I never really mentioned that I knew he had said things about me; there was no point. I’m not one for confrontation. But yeah, it was interesting to hear over and over again that he had mentioned my name. When the promoter ended up calling for the fight it was a bit of a shock, but it does give me a reason to get in shape.”
While Ebersole is adamant that this is a one fight only deal he plans on making a statement like only he can. Don’t get too excited about seeing his infamous cartwheel kick though, he doesn’t believe Kennedy can make him dig that deep into his bag of tricks. In Ebersole’s opinion Kennedy’s evolution as a mixed martial artist has been stagnant at best.
“I didn’t see his first fight (in the UFC), to be honest I didn’t watch it and his second fight…I know Richy Walsh very well and it kind of went how I expected it to go. I didn’t really see Steve having evolved all that greatly as a martial artist. Whether it was BJJ or standing he was kind of the same old Steve.” Ebersole said.
So, what can the fans expect when they go head-to-head at Hex Fight Series 6 on June 24?
“Victory. It’s definitely going to be a finish. It’s just up to him how I beat him.”