Morning Report: Tim Kennedy says he doesn't respect 'dirty' Michael Bisping, 'The Count' responds

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy finally has someone to verbally spar with. After breaking into the UFC against the mild mannered Roger Gracie and Rafael Natal, Kennedy seems to be relishing the buildup of his bout with perennial contender Michael Bisping. The back and forth between Kennedy and the outspoken Brit has carried on for months, lending some much needed drama to the UFC's reserved 185 pound division. Serving as the five-round main event of the Apr. 16 Ultimate Fighter: Nations Finale, Kennedy says his dislike for Bisping became personal years ago.

"I've wanted to fight Mike since his bout against my friend, Jorge Rivera, a little more than three years ago at UFC 127 in Sydney, Australia," Kennedy blogs for Yahoo! Sports. "He kneed Jorge illegally and then spat on his corner, and as far as I was concerned that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Bisping was loud, obnoxious, and a jerk, but when he fights one of my friends and fights dirty and does illegal things and should have gotten disqualified and wasn't and then spits on Jorge's corner, it's like, 'Now you've gone too far.'"

Kennedy elaborates on his distaste for Bisping's style, claiming he has a propensity for landing illegal shots. Bisping, who, he himself is recovering from an eye injury, most recently scored a technical decision win over Alan Belcher at UFC 159 back in April 2013. After Belcher suffered an eye poke late in round three the judges were forced to score the bout as is, leaving Bisping with the unanimous decision.

"Is he a jerk because he's a loudmouth who likes to talk a lot? Is he a jerk because of what he did three years ago fighting against a friend of mine? Is it his overall dislikeability? Yes to all of that, but it's how he fights. I think he fights dirty. I don't even know how many times he's eye-poked an opponent. He has to hold the record. I'm going to have to talk to FightMetric about that. He probably holds the record for the most significant eye-pokes in the UFC. That's pretty telling. He does a whole bunch of things. I couldn't narrow it down to just one thing."

Despite Bisping's best efforts, Kennedy claims his total lack of respect for his current opponent voids any real damage from his remarks.

"He likes to trash talk and has done a lot of it on Twitter. We've traded insults back and forth in social media, but I don't think there's anything he can say that would have an effect on me. He can make fun of my family. He can make fun of my military service in the Green Berets. I don't really respect the guy, so what's he going to say that's going to hurt my feelings? I'll handle things myself. I kind of take everything he says with a grain of salt. I don't care what he says."

Taking a bit of a meta turn, Bisping responded to Kennedy's post late Wednesday evening in an effort to do exactly what was said couldn't be done.

The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia Finale goes down Apr. 16 in Québec City, Quebec, Canada.

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MEDIA STEW

Make sure to check out scrums with Jake Shields, Hector Lombard, Diego Sanchez, Myles Jury and more.

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Joe Rogan's quick UFC 171 preview.

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New Tommy Toe Hold featuring our very own Luke Thomas.

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Preview of Keenan Cornelius vs. Vinny Magalhaes at Metamoris 3.

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ESPN bro's just choking each other out.

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Long watches.

UFC 171 Care/Don't Care Preview

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TWEETS

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Breathin' like Rickson.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Anthony Lapsley vs. Albert Tumenov at UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Da Headbanger.

Everything You NEED to Know About UFC 171 Main Card

Lets not kid ourselves. With the retirement of Georges St. Pierre, the welterweight division has been in a mess. It hasn't been a catastrophe as the UFC moved quickly to schedule a title bout as soon as GSP made his intentions clear, but any division without a champion is in bad shape. But it will finally be cleaned up as there will be five welterweight bouts total on the card with three on the main card, including the co-main event and the main event, the latter of which will crown a new champion.

Many (most in fact) feel that Johny Hendricks should be the rightful champion as he came out on the wrong end of a very controversial decision to GSP and he is without a doubt the favorite heading into the fight. Robbie Lawler was an afterthought just over a year ago and has come storming back into the UFC and reminding people why there was so much excitement surrounding him 11 years ago. Yes, you read that right. 11 years ago. He has been around that long. Its easy to count out Lawler... but many did that when he signed up to face Josh Koscheck and then Rory MacDonald. Want to count him out now?

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Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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