Story by Anthony Springer Jr
Coming into UFC 88, Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann was on a roll.
He found victory in his first four Octagon outings; three by submission, one by unanimous decision. In addition to his knockout power, his ever-improving ground game made him a growing threat in the middleweight division.
Staring at Kampmann from across the Octagon was a feared fighter in his own right in Nate Marquardt. With roots in Thai boxing, the advantage on the feet—on paper—appeared to be in favor of Kampmann. The Danish fighter came out swinging for the fences, staggering Marquardt briefly with a right hand, but the seven-time King of Pancrase was able to recover and caught Kampmann with a right kick to the head that proved to be the beginning of the end.
After all was said and done, Marquardt emerged victorious, and Kampmann’s Octagon winning ways came to an abrupt—and surprising—end.
“Shit happens,” Kampmann said when asked about the fight. “I made a mistake and got caught by something I shouldn’t have been caught by. “Once I was hurt, he kept the pressure on me and didn’t let me recover. I give him credit for that. I feel that I shouldn’t have been hurt in the first place. I’d love to fight him again.”
Kampmann says the scenario he found himself in at UFC 88 is one a fighter can never fully prepare for, no matter how hard one practices.
“You can work on it in practice but it’s never gonna be the same, unless you can get somebody to put you on queer street,” he explained. “Usually when you hurt somebody in training, you stop. Its practice, you don’t want to kill somebody.”
Refusing to harp on the past, the 26-year-old has his eyes—and his training regimen—firmly affixed on his UFC 93 bout with Alexandre Barros. Kampmann finds himself at somewhat of a disadvantage coming into the fight. Though Barros sports a 13-5 record, the Xtreme Couture fighter knows little about his opponent.
“I don’t know so much about him,” he said. “[Barros has] been in the game for a long time. He’s new in the UFC, but I’m not under estimating him. He’s stocky and he’s a southpaw so I’ve been preparing for that. It should be good.”
In addition to the mystery of his opponent, Kampmann is making the drop from his traditional 185 to fight in the welterweight division. The drop in weight brings about a new challenge, as this will be “The Hitman’s” first weight cut.
“When I fought at 185, I didn’t do any cutting, I just stepped on the scale,” he revealed. “I would have breakfast and no problems. Everybody would be starving themselves; I’d be at the buffet.”
Though food will elude Kampmann until after UFC 93’s weigh in, he does not believe the 15 pound drop will be difficult, despite a tough trial run. “I did a test cut and I felt like shit doing it, but I felt good the day after. I’ve been training so hard, my weight has been dropping and dropping. I don’t think it’s going to be hard at all.”
After UFC 93, Kampmann believes he’ll remain at welterweight, but made it clear that he doesn’t mind going back up to 185.
“I think UFC will want me to stay at 170, but I don’t mind fighting at 185 again. As long as the money is there.”