Martin ‘The Hitman’ Kampmann is looking to take the next step toward a shot at the UFC welterweight championship; but in his way stands the 2nd-ranked contender, Carlos Condit. Though the fight is just a week away, Kampmann spoke with BJPenn.com Radio to talk about his preparation- both physical and mental- for next Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Martin Kampmann spoke with BJPenn.com Radio Wednesday night, just one week away from his rematch with top-ranked welterweight, Carlos Condit, at UFC Fight Night 27.
Kampmann and Condit faced off once before in 2009 with Kampmann earning the decision victory. Despite the first outcome coming in favor of the Danish fighter, Kampmann has prepared for an even tougher opponent in this upcoming bout.
“We’re two different guys,” Kampmann explained. “I’m sure there’s still a lot of similarities in our styles, but we’ve improved a lot. I definitely know I’ve improved a lot, I’m sure Carlos will say he’s improved as well. I feel I’ve improved my game a whole lot, and I can’t wait to go in and show it.”
In the time since they last fought, Kampmann would go on to have mixed success in the UFC, holding a record of 5-4 and fighting his way into the top ten of the welterweight division, but never earning himself a title shot. Condit, on the other hand, went 5-0 after fighting Kampmann, earning himself the UFC interim welterweight championship along the way. After that success, however, Condit lost two straight fights, first to current champion, Georges St-Pierre, and most recently to now top contender, Johny Hendricks.
When asked if he thought he would be facing a much hungrier and more motivated Carlos Condit, Kampmann replied with earnest enthusiasm that he certainly hoped so.
“You know,” he explained, “I thought he was pretty hungry for the first fight too, but I’m sure he’s going to be hungry this time around. That’s good, because I hope he’s hungry. I hope he’s motivated, because I want to fight and I want to beat the best Condit there is.
“I don’t put too much in the first fight, you know, it was a while back. But I’m sure he does- I know he does, because he’s been asking for a rematch. He asked me personally. He’s a competitor, he wants to avenge that loss. So I know it’s nagging on him, it’s in the back of his mind. That loss is nagging him. And you know, that’s just extra pressure on him. But I… want to fight him hungry, I want to fight him motivated, and I’m going to beat him at his best.”
Of course, a decisive win over Condit conceivably puts Kampmann at the number-2 position, meaning that he could be facing the winner of GSP-Hendricks at UFC 167 this November.
“Hendricks has a good shot,” Kampmann remarked of that fight. “If he can go in there and land one of those bombs on GSP, he’s definitely gonna hurt him, and he can put him away. But I think GSP is going to fight him very cautiously. I think he’s going to fight him how he fought Koscheck the second time… He’s going to say on the outside, use his jab a lot… [and] whenever Hendricks comes in and tries to get him, [GSP] is going to duck under it and try to take him down. That’s the game plan I think he’s going to come in with; whether he’s able to implement it, we’ll see.”
While Kampmann is not looking past Wednesday, he couldn’t deny wanting a shot at GSP.
“I’d love to fight Georges St-Pierre. He’s considered the all-time best at welterweight. He’s the guy I’d really like to fight, you know, of course. I have goals, and I work hard to achieve every day, to get the title. That’s my goal. I’d love to fight Georges more than anything. So hopefully beating Condit is going to put me back on top of the division, because I’m ranked in the top ten, he’s ranked in the top three. Beating him is going to put me back on top where I want to be. Whoever I got to beat to achieve my goal, I’ll beat him, and I’ll do so in decisive fashion.”
And right now, Condit is the man he must beat. About his opponent, Kampmann expressed his respect and even said that he’s a fan.
“I think Carlos is a very well rounded and dangerous fighter, you know. I think he’s got some dangerous submissions as well, especially from his back; he has a very dangerous and very active guard. He’s got a great triangle, armbar attacks, you know, he’ll kind of switch that armbar attack over to a leg-lock attack. So he’s definitely dangerous, and he’ll chase that submission even when he’s in bad positions. Also in the stand-up, he’s very dangerous. So I think he’s very well rounded.
“He’ll throw crazy, unorthodox stuff. He’ll go for submissions from bad positions, and he’ll chase the finish, so I have a ton of respect for Condit. I think he’s a great competitor, and he’s one of the competitors I enjoy watching fight because… he comes for the finish, and that’s something I enjoy watching. That’s something I do myself; I like to chase the finish and go for the kill. That’s the recipe to make this fight spectacular.”
For his own part, Kampmann has sharpened his tools in Las Vegas, NV, splitting his training between a number of gyms in the area including Xtreme Couture, Syndicate and Robert Drysdale’s academy.
“I used to do the majority of my training at Xtreme Couture, but lately I’ve been bouncing around more. I’ve been training at Drysdale’s gym for a long time… He has really good jiu jitsu guys, so I feel he’s always beneficial to train with. I still go to Xtreme Couture, but I go to a couple gyms from time to time as well… I’m just trying to get the best guys, you know. I’m trying to get the best possible training. We have a ton of great guys here in Vegas, it’s just that we have so many gyms that people are spread out over. Sometimes I’ll get guys to come in and meet me down at Couture’s, sometimes I’ll go to the other gyms and train. It kind of depends. But I feel like I got a great training camp in, and I feel mentally ready. I feel great, I’m ready to kick some ass.”
Additionally, Kampmann brought in sparring partners to mimic his opponent.
“I’ve had some tall, lanky guys come in and spar me, and I’ve had some good Thai boxers and stand-up guys to work with who, you know, can throw some of the unorthodox stuff that he sometimes throws- stuff like switch knees, spinning elbows and stuff like that. I feel like I’ve gotten a great look in sparring to mimic his style, his reach and his length; and I feel that that’s helped me get ready in this fight.”
All that training is compounded another factor that helped prepare Kampmann: time off. He last fought over nine months ago, a considerable layoff for a man who normally fights 2-3 times in a year. That time, Kampmann said, helped him heal physical injuries and get his mentality back to where it needs to be.
“If anything,” he said about the time off, “it helped me get over a lot of injuries I’ve had for a long time that have been bugging me. I’ve had knee issues, and I’ve had other injuries that [are] finally starting to get good and get me strong. For the first time in a long time I feel ready. I feel my body’s good, my body’s strong. Before I felt like I had too many nagging injuries, but the long layoff helped me get my body back on track.
“I feel more mentally ready than ever before. The mental game is definitely something I’ve been lacking recently in my fights. When I used to fight back in the day, I used to fight more tenacious[ly] and more for the kill; that’s something I’ve been slowing down, and I’ve had a bad habit of starting slow, and that’s cost me. Got me knocked down when I fought Ellenberger- but I got back and knocked him out- and it cost me in the last fight, starting slow. I feel like the mentality of the fight game is definitely something I’ve improved the most on. I feel like I got a lot left to show. I got a lot more to show than I’ve ever shown in the UFC, I’ve only shown half my capabilities. I feel like I’ve got a lot more to show, and [I’ll] show my full potential when I fight. I’m going to do that Wednesday.”
Now, with just under a week until fight night, Kampmann is ready to prove the predictions of many fans and odds makers wrong.
“I love proving [them] wrong,” he said about being the underdog in Wednesday’s fight. “I’ve done that countless times, and that just means more money for the guys betting on me. I’m happy to make those guys some money.”
His prediction for how the fight will go in the cage (as opposed to in the casino books)? Kampmann answered that in typical fashion.
“I got five rounds to go in and get the finish. Carlos Condit, I know, is going to do his best to finish me, but I’m going to get my hand raised. It’s going to be a scrap, it’s going to be a war… I am going to kick his ass!”
Be sure to catch Kampmann vs. Condit 2 at UFC Fight Night this coming Wednesday, August 28. The fight will be broadcast live from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 8pm/5pm ETPT. Preliminary fights will air on Facebook beginning at 5pm/2pm and on FOX Sports 2 beginning at 6pm/3pm ETPT.