(Nothing that a little super-glue and duct tape won’t fix… / Photo via @MartinKampmann)
By Elias Cepeda
At this point, fight fans are wondering how Martin Kampmann can keep pulling dramatic victories out from the jaws of defeat. In March, the UFC welterweight contender was being soundly beaten for fourteen minutes by Thiago Alves on the feet before forcing him to tap out to a guillotine choke with seconds left in the fight.
Less than two weeks ago, Kampmann did it again, this time against Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger connected with a monster left hook to the dome of Kampmann at the start of their TUF 15 Finale main event bout. Kampmann went down hard and looked to be moments away from losing and letting the division’s number one contender spot to the interim title — or whatever these poor guys are competing for at this point, in Georges St. Pierre’s absence — go to his opponent.
Instead, Kampmann somehow survived the round. Less than two minutes into the second, he landed his own punches and one huge knee to the head, putting Ellenberger down and out, and scoring his second come-from-behind stoppage win of 2012.
But good luck trying to figure out what, exactly, was going on in Kampmann’s mind at those moments of in-cage crisis before he turned the tide. “I kind of go on autopilot when I’m in there and try not to think too much,” Kampmann tells CagePotato.com.
Thinking is for training, for strategy, for figuring out how to prepare for the fight. In the heat of battle itself, a fighter needs his training to pay off with dividends of pure reaction. Punches, kicks, feints, and even submission holds need to be instinctual at that point.
“The more I think, the worse I do,” Kampmann explains.
Kampmann has nearly as many professional fights as he does years of life, with many more amateur MMA, kickboxing, boxing, and submission grappling contests under his belt as well. He says that all of that, plus the hard moments in the gym where he’s gotten in trouble and persevered, are the keys to his ungodly durability in the Octagon.
“I’ve been in those situations before and that experience helps you stay composed in the fight,” he says.
Kampmann is about to head to his native Denmark for a well-deserved vacation as well as to likely undergo surgery to repair a nagging injury to his knee. After that, he says he’d like a shot at interim UFC welterweight champ Carlos Condit.
Johny Hendricks has also called out Condit after recently beating Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, back-to-back, but Kampmann is the last man to have beaten Condit. Three years ago, the pair clashed at UFC Fight Night 18, with the Dane winning a decision. Kampmann says that he will fight Hendricks in an elimination match if he has to, as Dana White has said he is intending to have happen. But there is no doubt in Kampmann’s mind that he’s already earned a title shot.”
“I feel I’ve done the hard work and I feel I’ve earned the title shot,” he says. “I’ve fought some of the best guys in the division, I’m on a three fight win-streak and the judges didn’t see it my way in a couple fights before that. But everyone knows my opinion on those decisions. I’m not gonna keep whining about that.”
Kampmann says he has no personal axe to grind with Condit — he just wants the belt. “I’m cool with Condit. He’s a cool guy,” he says. “But I know he wants to erase his losses. He told me some time before that he wants to fight me again to avenge the loss. He’s just a competitor, like me. I want to erase all my losses and I don’t blame him for wanting to do the same thing.”