Kampmann on the verge of greatness

Octagonside by Anthony Springer Jr.

Martin Kampmann has historically been a fighter that’s been on the verge of greatness, only to take a giant leap back in critical junctures. With a title shot on the line, he dropped a razor thin decision to Jake Shields. A decision loss to Diego Sanchez—a fight many believe Kampmann won—kept hi further down the ladder. When Kampmann submitted Thiago Alves a few months ago, and was then named headliner at last night’s TUF Live finale, many believed Jake Ellenberger had his number as well.

They were wrong.

Kampmann knocked out “The Juggernaut” in the second frame to set up a likely title eliminator bout with Johny Hendricks. Sitting at the podium of the post-fight press conference, it was Kampmann that looked like he was on the receiving end of the knockout.

With a $40,000 win bonus in tow, Kampmann was still a bit worried about some trouble that lay ahead.

“I would definitely prefer to get hit less. I’m going to get in trouble with the wife when I come home” he said to laughter.

The “Hitman” alluded to being asleep at the wheel in the early moments of the fights. A couple of big punches from Ellenberger—including a straight right in the opening minute of the first—changed all that.

“Jake he’s a beast and he can definitely throw a punch. That woke me up.”

While some will Monday Morning Quarterback the outcome of the fight—whether referee Steve Mazagatti should’ve stood up the fight after an apparent stalemate in the opener, or whether Ellenberger should’ve stood up for himself—Kampmann is just happy to leave with the victory.

“I remember getting punched pretty good. I remember most of the fight, I got hit a little more than I wanted to and I’m glad I came back and got the win. He was stuck in my guard and I was able to get my composure back.”

Kampmann sent a message to referees and fans loud and clear that believe the fight should’ve been stopped after his flooring in the first round.

“You can never count me out. I’m always going to be there fighting to the very end. So don’t stop the fight if I’m the one that’s hurt.”

With arguably the biggest—or at least the most important—win behind him, Kampmann can focus on the next steps. Whether that’s a bout with Hendricks or a leap frog over the bearded brawler to a title shot, makes little difference. The end game is the same.

“My goal is to fight for the title. Johny has got some great wins, if I have to fight him to get that shot, that’s what we’ll do. I’d love to get the winner of Condit or Georges St-Pierre, but I need to take time off to heal up.”

The only problem is the welterweight division is in limbo. With champion St-Pierre looking to return in November and interim champion Carlos Condit willing to wait, Kampmann must wait as well. And while he owns a victory over Condit, he doesn’t blame the interim title holder for sitting on the shelf.

“I’d love to fight Carlos but he wants to unify those belts and I don’t blame him. If I was in his situation, I’d want to get that unification bout as well. If GSP is going to be out, I think he should defend it, but if GSP is going to be ready at the end of the year, I’d wait too.”

TUF Live Odds and Ends

Fight of the night: Justin Lawrence vs. John Cofer

Knockout of the Night: Justin Lawrence, Martin Kampmann

Submission of the Night: Mike Chiesa

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