Last night, Martin Kampmann played the part of "The Comeback Kid" once again. After a swarm of strikes which followed a savage left hook, it looked as if Jake Ellenberger would pick up his seventh straight win in impressive fashion.
Kampmann came alive in the second round, and stumbled Ellenberger with a punch, before throwing a trilogy of clinch knees to send "The Juggernaut" to the canvas, and send Steve Mazzagatti (prematurely) running in to save him.
Now that Kampmann holds a three-fight winning streak, which also includes victories over Rick Story and Thiago Alves, he has made a serious case for himself in the crowded UFC welterweight title picture.
Also in the title scene is NCAA wrestler Johny Hendricks, who was promised a title shot after securing back-to-back wins over Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch. Many feel that Hendricks will be patient and fight for gold after the Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit situation sorts itself out, but the earliest that fight could take place is November.
With the belt on lockdown until at least March, Hendricks would have to sit out for at least 10 months if he is to cash in the title shot he earned back in May. Can a lower-earning fighter really afford to wait around for a title shot that may not come to fruition until next summer?
Both Hendricks and Kampmann are likely to fall victim to an inevitable logjam at the top of the welterweight division in the event that they do not compete for an extended period of time. It's a roadblock that has plagued the lightweight division for two full years. Instead of sitting on the sidelines and developing ring rust, the simple solution is for them to duke it out in a battle this fall.
Kampmann just knocked out the No. 3 welterweight in the world, which moves Hendricks into that spot. "The Hitman" wants to strap gold around his waist, and a win over Hendricks is the quickest path to attaining that goal.
This fight makes sense for ratings. This fight makes sense for the business. Most importantly, this fight makes sense for the fans.