Kilkenny’s Journey…

A skilled, high-level heavyweight athlete. A dominant fighter in the ring or cage – Jared Kilkenny’s fight journey has just begun…

(credit: Neil Berry |

The Man Behind the Gloves

The impact behind the fist is just as powerful as the charisma and leadership he brings forth in all his encounters. People want to be him, people want him around. But most definitely, people don’t want to fight him. Finding an opponent and training partners for a high level heavy-weight is a challenge. An insider tip – do not try your ground game on him – you might get a leg lock.

Raised with unconditional love, hard work and dedication – his mother worked tirelessly to make sure he had more than what he needed. A value he demonstrates with anyone he works with as well.

“I’ve always looked up to my Mom. I grew up dirt poor, in a rich town. I watched my mom work multiple jobs, while putting herself through college to provide for me. And I always had everything I needed, and then some. I have always been impressed with how hard my Mom worked for us.”

(credit: Neil Berry |

Third Ranked Heavywight MMA Fighter in Canada

Ranked as the third heayweight MMA fighter in Canada, alongside Arjan Bhullar (first) a current UFC fighter, Jared has a clear vision and wanted to demonstrate he should be ranked higher.

“Well, the current record is 13-9. Earlier in my career, at least two of my fights were incorrectly recorded as amateur, when they were in fact professional. Back then, I didn’t care, I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t take anything seriously. Fighting especially. So now I have to work twice as hard to overshadow my losses from the “good ol’ days”.

My current ranking is #3 of active heavyweights in Canada. Tanner Boser is above me, and signed with ACB (Absolute Championship Berkut). Arjan Bhullar is the other above me, and he is signed with UFC. And actually I will be traveling to Vancouver to be a part of Arjan’s camp for his April UFC fight.”

Jared Kilkenny and Roy Nelson

Being a skilled, high-level heavyweight competitor, it’s no surprise that Kilkenny was recruited to help train in a fight camp with Roy Nelson. Getting nelson prepped for his Bellator Grand Prix tournament. And another invitation for another top fighter – incredible.

“It was an amazing experience. Such a rich, inclusive environment at Xtreme Couture, in Las Vegas. Roy, and his wife are some of the nicest and welcoming people I’ve met in the sport. They went out of their way to ensure me and my family were comfortable, and entertained. The level of talent at the XC pro classes is insane. One day I tried to count all the Bellator / UFC / PFL fighters at the pro class, and I lost track at twenty, when I ran out of fingers and toes. There’s alot of “You should come train!” in MMA, sometimes it pans out, sometimes it doesn’t. So this was the first big camp out of Canada I’d been invited to. And traditionally, heavyweights are always scarce. So to get to work with so many great heavyweights (Roy Nelson, Tim Johnson, Travis Browne, Rey Sefo, Ronny Markes, etc.) was amazing. And all the coaches and athletes there were incredibly welcoming.”

Fight Camp at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas

Training with some of the highest level fighter in the world. Xtreme Couture is known for its high caliber coaching, and training. Roy Nelson chose this facility to train and invite Jared help sharpen his skills. It is difficult to pick a favorite time or person to train with, and all the athletes are different in their own right, maybe it the person most like him that Jared admires and looks up to.

“Undoubtedly my favorite person to work with was Roy. His knowledge of positional control, MMA functional takedowns, and submissions effective in MMA is staggering. As far as fun rounds go, Uriah Hall took the cake. It was like fighting a video game character, I had no idea what was coming at me, or from where. Boxing rounds on Saturdays was always fun. Tough rounds from Brad Tavares, and of course Ray Sefo himself. All in all, a great experience.”

(credit: Neil Berry |

Where Will Kilkenny Fight Next

The journey has just began, and opportunities are forming from different places. From next door, to across the Ocean – stay tuned for more. But for this moment in time, Jared has a few favorites.

“There are a lot of amazing promotions out there for fighters nowadays. I just want to fight with the best competition. UFC has a lot of the top young talent, and they’ve always been the measuring stick. But Bellator has a ton of the established, successful, and even legendary talent in my division. That combined with what they are doing with the Heavyweight Grand Prix has to have them near the top of the list. And organizations like Rizin and OneFC have always held particular interest for me. The Asian markets have traditionally had the most knowledgeable, respectful fans, and the production value of the shows is always over the top. A somewhat new powerhouse on the scene is ACB out of Russia. They are doing a lot of shows, attracting top talent, and treating them well. I wish I could fight for them all!”

Finding an Opponent

With Jared’s recent success it seems as though there may be some selection issues in finding other top ranked fighters.

“When I first “came back” I was lucky enough to get two super tough opponents right off the hop. After that we started having trouble. For my next fight we had to fly an experienced opponent in from Boston, which I convincingly dispatched of. Then it was impossible.

Some top ten Canadians “respectfully declined”. Arjan Bhullar (UFC) and Tanner Boser (ACB) have exclusive contracts, so they’re unavailable. Others are flat out ducking me. The sad thing is, they are from respectable camps, and its starting to reflect poorly on the camp.

We’re fighters, if you can’t suck it up and fight other top 5 caliber fighters, whats the point? You’d might as well just pack it in, and go be a janitor somewhere.”

(credit: Neil Berry |

The Moment That Changed His Life

As with many fighters, there is one moment where they knew their life was going to change – a fork in the road if you will. A clear moment that altered the course their lives. Jared was no different, started on a path and but only when he stopped to recollect the moments and connect the dots did he realize the very moment that shaped him to the skilled fighter he is today.

“Well, it was actually a two part event that lead me down this road. I had just started bouncing at the biggest night club in Lethbridge, and I thought I was as tough, and as cool as it got.

One night shortly after I started, my long curly hair hanging over my super cool bandana, I watched the head bouncer (my long time friend, coach, and manager Lee Mein) defuse a crazy and violent situation, without throwing a punch. But what had me blown away, was after he choked this crazy guy out, the guy pissed himself. Now THAT was the coolest thing ever! I had to learn. Lee invited me to a beginner kickboxing class to get me started. I rolled my eyes, but agreed to go. So on my first night during the warm up, amongst dads, moms, and children, I puked all over the mats. So watching Lee make a guy piss himself, initially got me interested. And being so determined to prove myself better than my initial, embarrassing outing was the second.”

Current Gym and Training Center – CMC

Manager Lee Mein of the Canadian Martial Arts Center in Lethbridge, Alberta has produced UFC notable talent such as Jesse Bongfeldt, Jason Day, and most recently Jordan Mein. For Jared to be surounded by a legacy and an aura of achievement, there’s only upward momentum that exists for the heavyweight.

It’s an awesome environment. I am lucky to have both awesome coaching, and great training partners. It really is a “Gym family”. My daughter takes classes there, and my wife even works out there occasionally, in between gossip sessions with Lee’s wife Carrie.

Past-times and other Hobbies

A man of multiple talents. Jared played high school and college basketball. If you see happen to meet Jared you can almost guarantee to see fresh clean Jordan’s on his feet and/or a hardwood classic basketball jersey.

“Who have you been talking to? Haha. Yes, I still try and get out and play as often as time allows. I try and make the alumni runs at Lethbridge College, and my old High School Magrath, and random men’s league runs through Southern Alberta. It’s great cross training cardio wise for fighting, it always gets my lungs burning. And besides, dunking on the young bucks never gets old! Aside from that, I’m usually posted up with my family and dogs. Big campers in the summer, big nappers in the winter.”

(credit: Neil Berry |

A Fight for the Ages

Modern Day Warrior asked Jared who he would like to challenge. Any person in history, real or not.

“That’s tough. Hitler jumps out at me right away. I think he deserves an ass whooping. That would be fun. There would be zero guilt associated with that beat down.”

Fight orΒ Signing Announcements

As this piece was written, a fight announcement was just released! See below.

To stay current on Jared’s fight news and other topics of interest follow his Instagram @kilkenny_mma

Follow @rumbleinthecage for his local fight announcements

Photo Credits

All photos were professionally taken by a talented photographer Neil Berry, big shout out to his talent – follow him on InstagramΒ @geared.up.mediaΒ 

“Just a place to share my world through your eyes. (Neil Berry)”