UFC welterweight Martin Kampmann believes he deserves the next crack at interim champion Carlos Condit and may have an unlikely ally in that quest - Condit himself. Back in 2009, Kampmann was the last man to beat Condit, who has since won five straight, including over Nick Diaz in February.
Kampmann himself is on a three-fight win streak that could easily have been a seven fight one because he has two controversial decision losses (to Jake Shields in 2010 and Diego Sanchez in 2011) sandwiched between five other wins. Most recently, he's stopped fellow top contenders Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger.
When asked if he feels he deserves to get a shot at Condit's belt (which really is #1 contender title with the prize being a fight with champion Georges St. Pierre when he returns from his knee injury), he is succinct. "Of course," Kampmann tells Yahoo! Sports.
Kampmann also cites a conversation he says he had with Condit when they were both at a promotional event in Utah. "I'm on a good streak and I feel that I've earned the title shot. But it is really up the UFC and not my decision. If I have to fight Johny [Hendricks] to get there, I'll do that. But I'd love to fight Carlos Condit or Georges St. Pierre. Condit has a loss to me and he wants to fight me again. He's told me himself," Kampmann recalls.
"We did an appearance together in Utah and he told me that he wanted to fight me again, to get back that loss to me. I would want to do the same if I was him. The first fight was really close, back and forth, just a really good fight. I'd love the two more rounds we would get in a title fight together. It would be great."
Whoever he fights next, Kampmann isn't in a rush to do it. He's already fought twice since March and has injuries to heal up. "You saw my last fight, I got a little banged up," Kampmann says.
"I'm not looking to go back in training too soon. I've got cuts on my face and a sore nose and a torn meniscus that I'm going to get repaired. It is going to be a pretty minor surgery but I'll need time to get it all healed up. Right now, I'm getting ready for a vacation in Denmark."
After two dramatic wins this year, Kampmann has certainly earned a family trip to his native Denmark. In March he submitted Thiago Alves in the closing seconds of their fight after falling way behind on the scorecards. And on June 1st Kampmann withstood an early onslaught from Ellenberger that put him on his behind in the first round and nearly knocked him out and came back to earn a TKO win in the second.
The key to Kampmann surviving those moments and being able to win goes back to training hard in the gym and having a state of mushin, or mindlessness in the fight itself, according to the fighter. "All the tough training and hard work in the gym gives you the skills to do that in a fight," he says.
"In the fight, you're not thinking. If you're thinking about what you want to throw next, before you get to throw it you're getting punched in the face again. It is just more about seeing an opening and hitting it on instinct. When I see an opening or block a punch, I fire out of reflex."
Kampmann doesn't know when he'll get his next chance to test those reflexes, and against whom. But he doesn't seem too worried about it. A title shot is preferred but "The Hitman," says he'll take out whoever his bosses put in front of him.
"It is completely out of my control so it is hard to stress about it," he says. "All I can do is train hard and kick whose ever ass they tell me to."
Elias Cepeda has been covering boxing and MMA since 2005 and is a voting member of the Yahoo! Sports MMA Pound for Pound Rankings panel. Follow Elias on twitter @EliasCepeda
- Sports & Recreation
- Carlos Condit
- Martin Kampmann
- Thiago Alves