Martin Kampmann could be one step away from achieving his long-awaited title shot. Since dropping to welterweight nearly three years ago, "The Hitman"has faced a collection of the top 170 pound fighters in the sport, and this Saturday night, he'll be looking to add another highly touted name to his list of victories.
In the co-main event of UFC 154 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Danish striker will square-off with fellow contender Johny Hendricks. UFC President Dana White may not be committing to the bout being a title eliminator, but both fighters have battled their way to the top of the heap of one of the organization's most competitive weight classes. This fight has all the makings to determine who earns the next shot at the welterweight title. But before Kampmann can start campaigning for his shot, the 30-year old Xtreme Couture product knows he needs to make a statement against Hendricks.
"I try not to worry about it but I definitely feel this fight should be for the number one contender spot," Kampmann told Bleacher Report. "It's only really a problem after I beat Johny Hendricks and that is what I'm focused on. After that I can start worry about the other stuff because I'm not looking past him. Of course I'm planning on winning, but let me knock out Johny Hendricks, and then I'll start worry about what comes next.
"GSP has to beat Carlos Condit first too. It works both ways. There are a lot of things going into this whole situation. People are talking about him fighting Anderson (Silva). GSP has to beat Condit and I have to beat Hendricks. Then I can start thinking about what the next step will be."
Kampmann has been one of the core members of Couture's gym in Las Vegas since it was established in 2006. Over the years many different fighters have passed through the doors looking to train. A few years back when he was looking to transition from a NCAA Division 1 National Champion to professional mixed martial artist, Hendricks spent a brief time training at the gym. While training sessions allowed Kampmann and Hendricks to become familiar, scrapping with "Bigg Rigg" won't be an issue on Saturday night.
"That's not a problem for me," Kampmann said. "Johny and I are friendly to one another but we don't stay in contact. It has been a long time since we trained together. I'm still going to try to punch his head off and I'm sure he's going to try to do the same to me."
Stylistically speaking, "The Hitman" possesses one of the most well rounded skill sets in the welterweight division. With proven power in his striking game and slick submission skills, Kampmann has become one of the weight class's most prominent finishers. In the bout with Hendricks, he knows what he's up against, and believes he has all of the tools necessary to get the job done.
"I feel confident in my skills," Kampmann said. "I feel confident in my wrestling, stand-up, and my ground game. You can match me up with anyone and I feel great about it. Johny's a great wrestler but it doesn't phase me. I have good takedown defense. If he does take me down, I'm going to get back to my feet. I also have plenty of submissions up my sleeve so I'm sure the fight is going to turn out in my favor.
"This fight is going to end in a finish. I'm there to finish the fight and I don't want to go to the judge's decision. I'm coming in to finish Johny Hendricks, whether it be a knockout or submission, that is my job on Saturday."