(Kampmann tangles with Volkmann at UFC 108)
This weekend the MMA world will be firmly fixed on UFC 111 when Georges St-Pierre defends his UFC Welterweight title against Dan Hardy. For fans of the sport, it’s a chance to see two of the best 170lb fighters in action, and for the division’s top stars, it’s a chance to scope the talent as they continue to plan a strategy for their quest towards the title. Martin Kampmann is no different.
Kampmann remains one of the most feared welterweights in the mixed martial arts world. Using his excellent Muay Thai ability and submission wrestling on the mat, the Xtreme Couture fighter has the skill to win a fight wherever it goes.
His performances in the division have been excellent. Victories over Alexandre Barros and Jacob Volkmann are highlights of his career at 170lbs, but his most impressive performance was that against former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit a year ago. Condit headed into the fight on an eight fight win streak, with none of those fights going the distance and five ending by submission. Kampmann picked up the split decision in a good fight.
“I was very happy the decision went my way, because it was a close fight” he says. “But I wasn’t too happy about my performance. I made a lot of mistakes in that fight [that] I shouldn’t be doing. I don’t like going to decision, I want to finish my fights. But I learned a lot from it though”.
Sandwiched in between those wins was a disappointing first round loss to Paul Daley. Kampmann, who was being touted for a title shot at the time, recalls the fight, believing the fight was stopped too early and it was a fight that he should’ve won.
“It was a very disappointing loss” he says. “I think it’s a fight I should win. I think it was stopped too early – I’ve been hurt before, even knocked down, and come back”.
“Look at my McFedries fight, I was hurt worse” he continued. “I was definitely rocked by Daley, but still standing. But (expletive) happens, I would love to fight Daley again, I think I would beat him second time around”.
Following the loss, Kampmann was eager to get back in the cage and get back on track. The guillotine submission win over Volkmann got him back in the win column, and a fight against dangerous striker Ben Saunders was scheduled to take place on the UFC card this weekend. However, the fight was cancelled, after Kampmann suffered a nasty injury preparing for the contest.
“I got a really bad cut in training. Not the regular cut, because I have had those before fights,” said Kampmann. “We are talking like 15 stitches inside and 15 outside.”
“I shot into a knee,” he continued. “Accidents happen, it sucks, but that’s always going be a risk in training when you’re going at it”.
Disappointed that the fight will not take place against Saunders, the former Cage Warriors middleweight champion remains eager to be matched against the best in the division, and even hints at a possible fight with Saunders in the future.
“Sure, I’d love to beat him up. People say how great his thai clinch is, but really he’s just real tall for 170 and uses that well in the clinch. But I think I can deal with that,” he adds.
With that fight now confined to fan forums and fantasy bookings, Kampmann is beginning to concentrate on future opponents and ways to continue his climb up the rankings. A rumoured fight against dangerous Brazilian striker Paulo Thiago at UFC 115 has been mentioned, and that’s a fight Kampmann is more than prepared for.
“Yeah, he’s a real tough guy” he says. “He’s done great against some really good guys, so I think we could have a great fight”.
“June 12th is so far out, so I’m not worrying about it just yet. Just training every day like I always would, [but] no specific stuff yet” he adds.
Well established as a welterweight today, it’s easy to forget that Kampmann was once a contender for the UFC middleweight title back in 2007. Naturally walking around between 185lbs and 190lbs, Kampmann remained one of the smallest middleweight fighters in the company, but his good performances disguised that fact.
“I could have been fighting welterweight a long time ago, but I was winning and doing good at 185, so I thought why switch it up?” he says. “But I was definitely small for middleweight, since I didn’t cut any weight, so I think welterweight is a much better weight class”.
“I’ll stay at welterweight for now, (but) the way other people have been cutting weight, maybe I’ll go lightweight,” laughs the former Cage Warriors veteran.
On to this weekend and Kampmann is more than looking forward to seeing two of his rivals getting inside the cage together. With Georges St-Pierre heading into the fight as the favourite, it would be easy for Kampmann to predict a win for the Canadian. However, he certainly doesn’t discount Hardy, who he has been very impressed with during his UFC career.
“I think GSP should take it fairly easy, but Hardy keeps surprising me when he fights. He’s got a punchers chance, and I would love to see the upset happen” he says.
With his own title aspirations on his mind, Kampmann will continue his preparation for his next fight, whilst still nursing the injury to his head. Having been at the top end of both the middleweight and welterweight rankings in recent times, he’s certainly not one to ignore when talking about contenders for the title.
“I feel confident in my skills, I keep improving and hopefully I can carry that into the cage and continue to do well there as well” he says. “I think I’ve been underestimated for a lot of my fights and still am. But I train with a lot of good guys and do well, so I feel confident that I can do well when it’s time to fight too”.
In closing, the Danish fighter thanks Hitman Fightgear, Xtreme Couture and his friends and family for their support. At just twenty-seven years old, he will be looking to continue on the winning path and towards a shot the welterweight title. With an excellent team behind him, and with his variety of skills continually improving, it certainly wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him go all the way in the future and create his own piece of history.