UFC 129 Fight Card: As GSP Fight Nears, Jake Shields Has Made Us Forget Kampmann
One of the things that the UFC has always done well in the Zuffa era is promote its fights. Whether it's using The Ultimate Fighter to build up its biggest matchups, or giving its fighters the freedom to use social media in ways that would make major team sports promotions cringe - or the kind of matchmaking that creates intriguing fights in the first place - the UFC is great at making people care about fights, and especially good at making fans remember that anything can happen once the cage door closes.
It's hard to imagine a better example of that than Saturday night's UFC Welterweight Champion matchup between Georges St-Pierre and Jake Shields.
In recent weeks, between the UFC's Countdown show for UFC 129 and the UFC Primetime: St-Pierre vs. Shields series, we've seen Jake Shields train with the likes of Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez and Phil Davis. We've seen him spend time with his family, and we've been reminded of the fighters he's beaten over the course of his six-year-plus, 15-fight win streak.
Well, except for Martin Kampmann.
To be fair, when a fighter's résumé includes wins over the likes of Dan Henderson, Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Jason Miller, Robbie Lawler and Paul Daley, a win over Kampmann doesn't necessarily get much attention. However, the win over Kampmann at UFC 121 back in October is the only fight Shields has ever had in the Octagon, which one would think would ensure a fair bit of attention in the UFC's buildup to the fight, except that the absence of the Kampmann fight from the buildup has helped the UFC promote the idea that Shields can beat St-Pierre on Saturday night. .
The honest truth is that Shields was less than impressive at UFC 121, pulling out a split decision over a solid welterweight fighter. Looking back at UFC 121, it's hard to believe that the fighter who lost the fight on one judge's scorecard is a threat to beat a fighter who hasn't even lost a round since 2007.
Of course, we know that Shields blamed his lackluster performance on the weight cut after fighting at middleweight for over a year, and there may be some truth to that. Furthermore, Shields knows as well as anyone else that if the guy who fought Kampmann in October shows up at the Rogers Centre on Saturday, the UFC Welterweight Championship is staying right where it is. However, the UFC has done everything it can to show us the other guy.
The guy the UFC has shown us holds his own on the mat with a main-event caliber light heavyweight like Phil Davis. The guy the UFC has shown us fought above his natural weight class and beat a former two-division world champion in Dan Henderson. The guy the UFC has shown us hasn't lost a fight in more than six years, and that guy has us wondering deep down, in the backs of our heads if he can beat Georges St-Pierre.
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