Martin Kampmann has built a reputation for being one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC welterweight division.The Danish striker is undoubtedly one of the weight class's most well-rounded competitors, and his ability to finish the opposition at any given point in a bout has made "The Hitman" one of the most exciting fighters under the UFC banner.
Using a mixture of forward pressure, well-placed power and a slick submission game; Kampmann has earned victories over some of the division's best. During his current three-fight win streak Kampmann has earned a lop-sided victory over Rick Story, submitted Thiago Alves, and knocked out surging contender Jake Ellenberger.
Kampmann embraces the battle and wherever the opposition wants to meet, suits him just fine.
"I definitely feel I'm one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division," Kampmann told Bleacher Report. "I can finish you on the feet and I can finish you on the ground. If anyone makes a mistake in either place, I can get the submission or I can knock them out. If people overlook me, that is on them. If you get me as an opponent, you should know it is going to be a tough fight."
In the realm of popular opinion, Kampmann should actually be riding a four-fight win streak. He battered Diego Sanchez throughout their bout but rather than seeing his hand raised upon the fight's conclusion, Kampmann found himself on the losing end of a controversial decision.
It is an issue which still rubs Kampmann the wrong way to this day, but there are bigger targets to focus on and he has his sights set on the top of the division.
All for good reason as Kampmann has put himself within reach of a title shot. He will square off with fellow contender Johny Hendricks at UFC 154 to decide who will move into the No. 1 contender position. Kampmann intends to keep the momentum rolling against Hendricks, and the preparation for their November matchup has officially begun.
"I feel confident about the fight with Johny," Kampmann said. "We've trained together in the past. Obviously we know each other well and are aware of each other's strong points. Johny is a great wrestler, has knockout power, but he's not super technical. I have to watch out for the big left hand and his wrestling is always a factor. I feel I can win this fight in a lot of different ways, and I have a lot of confidence going in.
"After my last fight, I had a knee surgery done. I had a meniscus tear that had been bothering me for about a year. It wasn't anything too bad but it was bugging me during training. I had that fixed and went on a vacation to Denmark. I did my rehab there and spent time with my family. Then it was back to Las Vegas and back to getting in shape. Now that I have my opponent, I'm excited to get to work."
While the division has certainly heated up in the absence of reigning king Georges St. Pierre, Kampmann believes he's been amongst the best in the weight class for some time. If Kampmann is able to defeat Hendricks at UFC 154, it will clearly carve out his place as next in line to fight for the welterweight title.
"For sure I believe a win over Hendricks gets me the title shot," Kampmann said. "I feel I should have been given the shot a long time ago. I have fought some of the best welterweights in the world and every single fight I get is against one of the top contenders.
"I'm doing GSP a favor because I'm beating all the tough guys in the division. He should be sending me thank-you letters."
On the same night Kampmann faces Hendricks, St. Pierre and Carlos Condit will battle to unify the divisional titles. With GSP on the sidelines, the UFC instituted an "interim" title which Condit currently holds. Kampmann doesn't give any validity to the interim strap and he's happy the belt he wants, is finally going to be back in play.
"GSP is coming back and is going to fight Condit in November," Kampmann said. "They are going to connect the two belts but obviously GSP has the real belt. He has the one that counts. Obviously I want to fight for the belt, but I'd rather fight for the real one. That is the one I want."
Kampmann also doesn't believe St. Pierre has "cleaned out" the division and offered an alternative solution to the proposed "super fight" with Silva.
"I don't know why GSP is so anxious to get knocked out by Anderson Silva," Kampmann said. "If he wants to get knocked out, he can just take a fight with me."
In the recent era of "win at all costs" where fighters are some times willing to take the less exciting road, Kampmann is the rare exception. Make no mistake about it, he wants to win more than anything else, but he holds a greater desire to earn the victory in decisive fashion.
It has been a lesson learned the hard way as Kampmann has found himself on the short end of several judges' decisions. It is an outcome he puts on his own shoulders. Kampmann believes it is his responsibility to take the power away from the judges and should he perform up to his talent level, everything will work out in his favor.
"I'm just happy I have a good string of wins behind me," Kampmann said. "I want to keep that going and get the title. That is my goal. I've had some fights go to the judges' decision but if it was up to me, I'd fight for five rounds every time. I don't want to fight three rounds where the judges can have a say in it.
"For me you could take the time limit and throw it away. I'll keep fighting and I'm not quitting. I would prefer the fight with Hendricks to be a five-round fight but I'll have to finish him in three. That's what I'm going to do."