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Exclusive: Martin Kampmann Talks Comebacks and Title Shots

(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

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.”

Cagepotato Comments

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Carman South- June 13, 2012 at 1:46 am
when I’m in there and try not to think too much,” Kampmann tells
linzhancy- June 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm .. 0 .0. 0.
Dizzlefizz- June 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm
This dude has paid his f***ing dues. Give him Condit. I enjoyed their last scrap and think both fighters have improved since. May be a tough break for Hendricks but he can for the looser of that fight for the next shot at the title.
Houstons db- June 12, 2012 at 10:55 am
@Chode, psh. Kinda like how after the Kos win Hendricks was all, I'd like to WAIT to fight the winner of the Condit v GSP if I can. Not to mention Diaz said he would have waited for GSP too. Shit, each one of those dudes would wait for GSP if they had a choice. IMO, I'm happy I get to watch the mini tournament thats playing out to determine the #1 contender.
Chonde- June 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm
You make a good point but Diaz would have the clout to make that happen. He can sell a ppv which none of those other guys are capable of doing. You are honestly happy that we have to wait to see Condit and GSP fight in Novemeber over seeing Condit and Kampman going at it in August? The winner would still have time to recover and fight GSP in December. Just sayin...
Chonde- June 12, 2012 at 8:47 am
What a joke Condit has become. The UFC screwed up with the interim title. They should have made it a requirement for the winner of Condit-Diaz to defend the belt within six months rather than sit and wait for GSP. Even beating GSP will result in a rematch because he is coming off an injury and has been such a dominant champ. Kampman/Ellenberger/Hedricks all deserve a shot at that interim belt just as much as Condit did. Difference is, they are all willing to defend it rather than wait for GSP. If Condit can't defend it against any of them, then he isn't a true champion anyway and fighting GSP won't mean shit. The whole welterweight scene is stuck for another 18 months I bet. Lame.
Smitty- June 12, 2012 at 7:35 am
I was at "UFC night night 18". There were pillow fights, movies, warm milk and cookies, and an awesome scavenger hunt. Good times!
KarmaAteMyCat- June 12, 2012 at 7:17 am
Another great write up Elias nice,
Elias- June 12, 2012 at 9:01 am
Thanks brosef!