Like most combat sports, mixed martial artists are always looking to find any edge that they can going into a fight. One of the most common ways for a fighter to sway a match-up to his favor these days is competing in the lightest weight division you can get your body to go to.
The decision to make a move in weight is sometimes a simple one, but not always, especially when you’re already successful competing at a higher weight class… like Martin Kampmann.
The Danish fighter had reeled off four wins in a row in the UFC’s 185-pound weight class before dropping a bout to fellow contender Nate Marquardt. But suffering only the second defeat of his 15-bout professional career was enough to cause Kampmann to pull the trigger on the move that he had been contemplating for some time.
“It’s funny because he wanted to drop (to 170 pounds) early on,” said Kampmann’s manager Ken Pavia. ” He said, ‘Hey listen, I only cut two or three pounds (to make 185 pounds); I probably should go to 70. Let’s do it.’ And I said, ‘I think you have a career here at 85. Why don’t we play this out and see where it takes us and then if we encounter a loss, we reassess and we have a whole second career waiting for us at 170.'”
That’s exactly what they did, and it worked… for a while.
“He was walking around at 87, 88; he was a very small 85er. But when you beat guys like Drew McFedries, Thales Leites, and you’re 4-0 in the UFC, you’re one fight away from the strap. Had he beat Marquardt; I think logically he might have gotten a title shot,” Pavia continued.
But he didn’t beat Marquardt and that was enough of a sign for Kampmann to at least give the crowded 170-pound division a shot.
“He unfortunately took that loss to Nate and we reassessed and he wanted to go to a weight he’s more comfortable at.”
And that is how Kampmann wound up on the UFC 93 fight card in Dublin, Ireland, prepared to welcome UFC newcomer Alexandre Barros to the Octagon… at 170 pounds.