Martin Kampmann: The Forgotten Contender

March 2, 2012
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If you hear about the top contenders in the UFC’s welterweight division, names like Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks come immediately to mind.

Divisional mainstays like Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch still lurk in the shadows, always seemingly in the conversation for title contention, as well.

But what about the one guy who currently holds a win over interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit in the UFC?

The best way to describe Martin Kampmann‘s time at 170 pounds in the UFC could be “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”

The Dane is always just a step away from a title shot only to have it snatched away. Following the win over Condit, Kampmann fell victim to Paul Daley by knockout, and while he still believes to this day that the fight was stopped too early, it’s a pattern he’s been known to develop during fights.

“My mistake in that fight and I still do it in training sometimes, it’s a bad habit, when somebody gets me with a good shot I get fired up and I’m like ‘okay, let’s get you back (expletive),'” Kampmann explained when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “Sometimes that’s not the best thing, sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and get your composure before you just starting going in and firing back.”

Kampmann did rebound and won his next two fights after that, over Jacob Volkmann and Paulo Thiago, before losing a razor close split decision to Jake Shields, and then another highly controversial loss to Diego Sanchez.

He bounced back once again at UFC 139 where he defeated Rick Story. Now Kampmann faces Thiago Alves at UFC on FX 2 with a chance to climb back into the welterweight title picture.

Learning from past mistakes is a big part of what Kampmann did to get ready for his fight with Alves, and while he promises excitement, it won’t come at the cost of a loss.

“I don’t want to do anything just to swing for the fences and exchange punches. I want to go in and pick my shots and pick him apart standing,” said Kampmann. “He can hold his own standing too, so I think that’s going to make for a great fight. He’s a heavy hitter but I can usually eat a punch too. I mean I hope I don’t get punched, but it might not be realistic.

“I’m sure we’re going to exchange some punches and that’s why we get paid. We get paid to fight.”

If Kampmann’s strategy works and he’s successful in his fight with Thiago Alves, then he’d be more than happy to give Condit a rematch for their bout in 2009. This time with a title on the line.

“I’d love to, obviously he’s got a target on his back now that he won the interim championship, so I’d love to fight him again. We had a great scrap the first time we fought, and I know he’d want the chance to avenge that loss; he told me himself. So, obviously, he’s got the belt, so he’s one of the No. 1 guys I’d like to fight of course,” Kampmann stated.

“I think that’s a great idea, I’m down.”

There is still definitely business at hand, however, and without a win in Australia this weekend, Kampmann goes back to down the ladder and that’s not a place he wants to visit again.

“First I’ve got to beat up Thiago Alves.”

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  • Am I the only person on planet Earth that thinks Kampmann has never been a contender and never will?

    He’s a great gate keeper but has been absolutely smashed by middle of the road guys and I expect Alves to put him to sleep.

    The fact that Kampmann is even ranked in the top 10 WW’s in the world is ridiculous.

    To hear the words title shot come out of Kampmanns mouth I full expect it to be preceeded by “I’ve won 5 in a row now and beaten some top 10 guys” until he can say that I dont think he can even be in the proverbial “conversation” of a shot at GSP

    Rant over.

    • KBEsq

      Yeah, I disagree with you. I think Kampmann is an amazing MMA fighter and he has what it takes to be the champion. I think the reason he’s getting so much play now is because he beat Condit, but honestly, that’s not why I give him so much credit. That particular fight was very close and technical, but it’s honestly other fights that have made me a huge Kampmann fan.

      Bottom line with Kampmann, he has some of the best and most technical stand-up in the UFC (let alone the division), and his ground game is top notch. Some say his ground game is better than his stand-up.

      I became a huge Kampmann fan after watching his Paulo Thiago fight. That fight showed how he can truly dominate a well-rounded fighter both on the ground, and standing up.

  • Anthony

    I disagree, He beat Condit who is the current intrem champ, and had a couple of very close split dicisions against top 10 guys like Diego, and Jake Shields(I felt he could have won both and few would have had any problem with it)-granted hes never faced wrestlers like Fitch and Koscheck, but I think if he beats Alves in impressive fashion, you have to consider him a contender for the title. Give him Ellenberger next(provided he beats Alves, and that in it a self is a seriously tuff task) and give the winner the title shot–Its new blood, instead of the same old fights against GSP–ex-Kos, Fitch,Alves, etc(thats already been done)–GSP’s injury opened up all kinds of posibilities and one thing you can say about Kampman is he always fights his ass off and can take a punch–hes pretty well rounded too, for a guys who has his roots as a world champion kickboxer–He wins this fight,I like the him near the top of the division.

  • mmachoman

    The win over Condit was a split decision. Take it easy, tough guy.

    • Anthony

      hey ,your the “mmachoman” not me -tuff

  • I agree that he could/should have taken the decision aginst Shields but nothing Shields has done in the UFC had mpressed me.

    That said,aside from a split against Condit (everyone has an off day) his biggest win is against Rick Story. Paul Daley put his lights out and while he has had close decisions against Shields and Sanchez neither of these two fighters are making any real noise in the WW division.

    I think Ellenberger and Hendricks would eat him alive and I think GSP and the Condit of today would do the same to either of them.

  • Oh and I just dont see him beating Alves. If you are not a Wrestler Alves will take your head off!

    His last 3 losses have been against top notch wrestlers. If you cant hold him down for the fight he will get you.

    • KBEsq

      Kampmann has great wrestling. He may not have a wrestling pedigree, but neither does GSP.

      • MikeMc1983

        Yeah, but Gsp is driven by an undieing passion to get men on their backs so he may lay with them. 😉

  • phrankthetank

    How do people doubt this guy? Aside from making a serious mistake in the way he fought Daley. I firmly believe this guy should have won all of his welterweight fights. He dropped shields with knees more than once which shields covered by going for takedowns. He should have won against Sanchez. I thought he definitely beat condit, though it was close. Kampmann has all of the skills to hang with the best of them.

  • Lesnardo

    In a sport where you are either a top fighter or not a top fighter, I don’t think Kampmann can be considered a top fighter.

    He will disappear in time.

  • fitefan

    I’m a fan of Kampmann, he’s tough and very skilled. He just can’t quite put it together long enough for a title shot. Frustrating.

    And considering that, if he made champion it seems he wouldn’t succefully defend it very often, if at all. Because after a couple of wins, it appears as if he is due for a loss.