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Tim Kennedy getting that itch back, wants loser leaves town fight against Lyoto Machida

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It's been a while for Tim Kennedy. The 35-year-old veteran has been missing in action since his controversial Sept. 2014 loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 178. Earlier this year Kennedy admitted that the whole experience left him a tad disillusioned, and while he wasn't exactly retired, he wasn't exactly hungry for a fight either.

But now Kennedy may have found the "something special" he was looking for.

Kennedy (18-5), the No. 8 ranked UFC middleweight, is eyeing a fight against Lyoto Machida, and he would even be willing to throw in a ‘loser leaves the UFC' stipulation to make it more enticing, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani reported Wednesday on UFC Tonight.

The fight nearly took place in Nov. 2013 if not for a Machida injury, but it makes some sense to happen now, as Machida's stock took a major hit on the UFC rankings after his lopsided submission loss to Luke Rockhold at UFC on FOX 15's main event. The 36-year-old former light heavyweight champion is now ranked No. 4, and has lost two of his last three fights after a promising 2-0 start at middleweight, which included a devastating head kick knockout of Mark Munoz.

Machida's manager, Ed Soares, told Helwani that he loved the fight, and even threw some shade Kennedy's way, saying that Machida didn't want to be the one to kick Kennedy out of the UFC.

Kennedy last fought seven months ago, losing a bizarre contender bout against Romero. Kennedy wobbled Romero with punches at the end of the second stanza, however circumstances led to Romero inexplicably being given extra time to recover between rounds, despite repeated protests from the American. Kennedy ultimately lost via TKO just 38 seconds into the third round, snapping a four-fight win streak, and has been out of action since.

"I thought the fight was over," Kennedy said back in February. "Talk about a huge mistake. That's on me. Yes, John (McCarthy) messed up. Yes, the corners cheated. Yes, Romero cheated. Yes, they all knew what they were doing and it was completely against the rules every which way. But first and foremost, I have to look at myself as an athlete. I messed up. I should have stayed there. I should have been cerebral enough to be cognitively aware that this fight could still be going on."

A decorated U.S. Special Forces officer, Kennedy said he expects to depart for South America on Friday to film a television show that features him chasing down war criminals, though he was coy on the specifics. Regardless, it appears as if he has that itch to fight again, as Kennedy doesn't want his career to end the way it did against Romero.