This past weekend was an important one for Martin Kampmann. As a welterweight, he watched three fights at 170 lbs that had huge implications for the weight class. In two fights featuring four fighters Kampmann has already faced in his career, Jake Ellenberger knocked out Strikeforce import, Nate Marquardt, moving himself up the UFC welterweight rankings to number 4 contender; and Johnny Hendricks earned a unanimous decision over Carlos Condit to earn himself a shot at the welterweight belt against Georges St. Pierre. GSP successfully defended his title against Nick Diaz in the highly anticipated main event, the only welterweight fight of the main card that did not feature former opponents of Kampmann.
While he is busy recuperating and training for his return to the UFC, Kampmann took some time out Wednesday night to talk with BJPenn.com Radio and give his thoughts on these three fights and their implications for the welterweight division.
The first welterweight match-up at UFC 158 ended in the first round with Jake Ellenberger knocking out recent Strikeforce import, Nate Marquardt. Kampmann, who has a TKO victory over Ellenberger and a TKO loss to Marquardt (at middleweight), thought the fight “was evenly matched up, I could definitely have seen Marquardt coming up with the win as well. But Ellenberger’s tough, and he’s a heavy hitter, small gloves and you get caught then sometimes it’s a short night, and it was for Marquardt. Just goes to show that Ellenberger’s tough, and that he hits hard. And I know that from first-hand experience.”
Of the three welterweight fights at last weekend’s UFC 158 event, Kampmann found the most impressive to be the Fight of the Night performance put on by Johnny Hendricks and Carlos Condit. “I thought it was a great fight,” said Kampmann. “I thought it was fair that Johnny won… He was pressing a lot of the action. Condit was definitely hanging in there. I, more than anything, would love to see two more rounds. I’d love to see that fight be a five rounder.”
The fight earned Hendricks the next shot at GSP’s belt, a privilege that Kampmann believes the hard-hitting Texan earned a while back. Kampmann remarked that, when he fought Hendricks in November, “that should have really been the number one contender fight. He got screwed over by [Nick] Diaz coming in… so I definitely think he deserves the number one spot.”
His mention of Nick Diaz, of course, refers to last weekend’s main event. Diaz took on welterweight champ, Georges St. Pierre, in what turned out to be a five round grind with GSP definitively earning a unanimous decision. The fight, however, did not surprise Kampmann at all. “It was pretty much how I expected the fight would turn out,” he said. “I thought it was interesting in round three when Diaz started landing some shots on him. It looked like it actually rocked GSP a little bit… Then GSP got him down again and kind of just continued to work his game on him.”
If the fight failed to surprise Kampmann, the post-fight drama interested him even less. Following the fight, both Nick Diaz and his trainer, Cesar Gracie, made some bold statements. Diaz called for a rematch or he would retire, and Gracie insinuated that GSP had a spy inside their camp. About Diaz’s retirement, Kampmann seemed skeptical. “No,” he said, not believing Nick’s MMA career was over, “I don’t listen to too much of what that guys says.” About Cesar Gracie’s allegation toward GSP, Martin believed it was possible, but quickly said, “in reality I don’t think it’s going to help that much. I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference. I think you prepare for a fight, and nobody comes into a fight with just one tool and one way to win the fight… so I don’t think, even if someone is working on something specific and they told GSP, I don’t think it could make that much of a difference, you know?”
After UFC 158, a few of the card’s fighters could potentially face Kampmann when he returns to action, which he hopes will occur this summer. He speculated that he will get a top-ten opponent “coming off a loss,” so both Condit and Diaz are possibilities. While a rematch with Condit is a worthy fight, Kampmann seemed more interested in a match with Nick Diaz. “I’d be happy to fight him,” he said. “[Diaz has] still got a ton of hype behind him… he’s ranked in the top ten, so that would be a good win for me. Yeah, I’d love to beat his ass.”
Regardless of who his opponent may be, Martin Kampmann is training hard to get ready to return to the winning column when he fights this summer. Be sure to check out the second half of this interview to read about Kampmann’s training, how he faced his recent loss and his goals for moving back up in the welterweight division.
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