Last September, Martin “Hitman” Kampmann found himself seeing stars inside the Octagon. A barrage of punches and kicks from Nate Marquardt at UFC 88 led to a TKO loss for the Danish fighter who calls Xtreme Couture home these days. The loss snapped Kampann’s four fight UFC win streak which included victories over Drew McFedries and current middleweight number one contender Thales Leites.
Instead of offering Kampmann another fight at middleweight, the UFC offered up a chance for the 26-year-old to join its stacked welterweight division. Never one to duck a fight, Kampmann, accepted a bout against Alexandre Barros at UFC 93—and showed the world why he earned his “Hitman” moniker.
Kampmann stopped Barros with a series of punches en route to a second round TKO victory and put the rest of the welterweight division on notice that Martin “Hitman” Kampmann was back.
What makes Kampmann equally dangerous in the division is previous experience fighting larger guys at 185 and the ease with which he makes 170. While most middleweights tend to cut from as much as 200 pounds, Kampmann regularly hovers around 186 pounds.
“It’s easy,” Kampmann says of making the cut to welterweight. “I didn’t walk around very heavy when I fought at 85. This morning I was 182. I’m pretty light, cutting weight is not going to be any problem.”
What may be a problem for opponents is a game Martin Kampmann fighting at his normal weight. With all other things being equal, the bigger man tends to win the fight. This idea is not lost on Kampmann, who concedes that size isn’t everything, but nonetheless realizes that he will hold an advantage over smaller 170 pounders.
“It’s a higher competition in the sport and small margins like size and strength count. Having a size advantage is one of the factors. But it’s not a decider. I’ve fought bigger guys and won. I’ll be walking in at maybe 180 when I fight.”
Fighting higher competition may be an understatement come April 1. Kampmann will step into the Octagon at the upcoming UFC Fight Night to welcome the last WEC welterweight champion Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit to the big leagues of the UFC. The bout has serious implications for both men and had the fans on the Internet buzzing about the fight before the ink dried on the contracts.
“It was already on the Internet that it was signed,” Kampmann says of the match. “I had just gotten a phone call about the fight [laughs]. I hadn’t even gotten the bout agreement yet.”
The contract signing process went off without a hitch and UFC Fight Night officially had its main event. Though Kampmann will be headlining his first MMA event, he says the preparation—aside from the added media attention—is no different than any other fight.
“I’m starting to get a lot of attention, the interview requests are coming.
“I think once you get in there and get punched in the head, it doesn’t matter what part of the card you’re on. It might be a little more pressure before the fight because you get more attention. Once you’re in there fighting, it’s the same.”
The mentality will be necessary against a high caliber opponent like Condit, who rides an eight fight win streak into Wednesday’s main event.
“[Condit’s] a very good and dangerous opponent,” Kampmann says of Condit. “He’s got a dangerous standup, long and lanky reach. Good standup and good on the ground as well. He poses a lot of threats.”
Threats and winning streak aside, Kampmann says he’ll be a big problem for Condit once the opening bell sounds. “I think I’m going to be stronger than him and I think I can beat him wherever the fight goes. That’s the plan—just beat him up, be in his face and pound on him.”
Win or lose, Kampmann know that the drop to the welterweight division brings new challenges to his career.
And he’s more than ready to meet them head on.
“There are a lot of good fighters and it’s competitive,” he says of the 170 pound class. “I don’t even want to start naming [fighters]. Only tough fights from now on.”