We here at MMA For Real continue to bring you the best of the best from the southeast region. This interview is no different as we went all the way over to Iraq for this one. We had a chance to catch up with MMA For Real's #3 ranked welterweight in the Carolinas in Derrick "DK" Kennington(5-1). Derrick was killing here before being deployed in January. We talk to Derrick about life in the Air Force, how he got into MMA, and what to expect from him when he returns home. There's also a news story on Kennington training fellow servicemen after the jump.
KH-Derrick, I know you were born here in North Carolina but moved about a bit after that before finally settling in South Carolina. Talk to us a little bit about the process of moving so often as a youngster and how that influenced you as you got older?
DK-I had to move around as a kid since my parents were going through a pretty nasty divorce so once we got settled in my mom met someone else and then we moved to SC for good. It hasn't affected me much except for the fact that I wish I still lived in Myrtle Beach or Charlotte. haha. Nah, the funny thing about it is that I am still moving around like crazy since being in the military.
KH-You actually didn't get into MMA into later in your life. Now growing up were you always into sports? What was it about MMA that made you want to try it?
DK-Yea, I had only heard stories about this guy Gracie and Ken Shamrock when I was a youngster. My dad always had me involved in sports some way. He was a boxer growing up and played baseball so I was taught at a young age how to stand and hold my hands correctly, as well as throw, catch, and hit. So when I finally settled into Blacksburg, I started playing baseball and football. I played basketball for a while but I wasn't that big for basketball so I just focused on baseball and football. I was in Alaska back in 04 or so when I first saw MMA. I heard people at work talking about it so I ordered a UFC pay per view and fell in love... I then started going to local shows and watching saying that "I can do that". I didn't start training until about a year and half after that. I kick myself in the ass for it now.
KH-Now you are a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force currently stationed in Iraq(thanks for your service btw), but you were tearing it up here on the east coast before you got deployed with a record of (5-1) How quickly do you want to get back in the swing of things when you return home?
DK-Thanks, but I feel that I just scratched the surface on the East Coast. I want guys to hear about me on the west coast. Ya know. I would like to fight probably Sept or Oct. Who knows. It all depends on when I get back and get accustomed to things when I get back, and how training is going.
KH-Right, when you do you expect to return to the states?
DK-I should get back early July.
KH-Excellent! Now you had won your last four fights via submission and had a couple of big fights lined up before deployment but had to pull out of those fights due to injuries. Would those fights still interest you at this point?
DK-Yea, I hate pulling out of fights man. I remember being in the ER when I broke my clavicle trying to shadow box to see if it hurt.LOL. I will fight pretty much any one, man. The timing and training just needs to be right for me.
KH-I understand that you've been training with some guys from Team Quest and some guys from Diego Sanchez's camp while being stationed in Iraq. Talk to us a little about those training sessions and what would be the main difference between Derrick Kennington right now and Derrick Kennington a year ago fighting wise?
DK-Yea I was lucky enough to land in a spot that had some good guys to train with and push me. I trained mostly with a guy Tommy from Team Quest that trains right alongside Matt Lindland and Chael Sonnen (kick Anderson Silva's ass PLEASE!), so he had a lot of techniques and drills that I had never seen before. Man we have had some epic sparring sessions man. We would bang something serious, alternating days when we would go 5 fives all out. Usually with guys that I roll with or train with I don't have to be as sharp on the ground. With these guys I had to stay on my toes constantly. I AM SMARTER fighter now! I was always worried about having a exciting fight, so I would rush things. If you watch the Keller fight, I didn't rush at all. Once we engage, it is on full blast. But I have still not fought to my full potential yet, which is Scary. I am growing more and more every day.
KH-The Carolina's are BOOMING right now with MMA events happening almost every weekend. There seems to be a friendly rivalry developing between NC, SC, and GA. I know you've fought in NC and GA before. I know you haven't been able to experience the growth first hand, but give us your thoughts on MMA in the southeast region?
DK-It is getting pretty wild man. I am sitting over here checking up on dudes making some noise. It's cool. SC I hear is putting on some bad ass shows, between FFP, CFP and Caged Chaos (King MMA is putting this show on May 8th with badass's Tim Goodwin and Josh Eagan's headlining). A lot of people haven't heard of Josh Eagans. This guy is for real. He is only 21 yrs old and talented as hell. I can't wait to get back and get in there.
KH-Yea, we should have an interview with Tim coming up in a few days. I don't know how much downtime you guys have in Iraq. What are some things you guys enjoy during your free time over there?
DK-It all depends on your job bro. If your mission is pretty slow paced you will do what I do and train twice a day/play video games. A lot of guys lift weights over here. But I prefer doing conditioning routines, shadowboxing/bag work or getting some guys together to train.
KH-Oh man, that's dope. Tell us something about Derrick that people would be surprised to know?
DK-I have degenerative disk disease in my lower two disc in my back.
KH-Ok, I was not expecting that...lol. Wow. Since you are a welterweight. I got to ask you to give us your thoughts on the upcoming Koscheck vs. Daley matchup at UFC 113 next week? Who wins and why?
DK-Man I am super excited for this one. I remember watching Daley back in the Elite XC days. Daley is a beast but I think Kosheck takes this one. Either by lay and pray or submission. Koshcheck is to dominate of a wrestler for Daley. He is able to choose where this fight takes place. If he wants to win he will take Daley down. Daley has stated that his ground game is suspect. So I think Kosheck will sub Daley.
KH-I agree. Derrick, that's about all I have man. Feel free to give a shoutout message to anyone back home and thank any sponsors and whatnot.
DK-I just want to say hey to my wife and little girl Emma back home. Thanks to everyone that shows support for the Armed Forces out there. Also would like to thank Adapt X Labs for the excellent supplements they provide me. Also, I NEED SPONSORS! HELP! Thanks to you Kelvin for reppin' for NC and SC!
Thanks Derrick, we wish you a safe homecoming and we look forward to you getting back into the swing of things when you get back. Again, thank you and your fellow soldiers for your services to our country.