‘The Hitman’ talks Ellenberger’s heavy hands, the desire for a Condit rematch and paintball
HeavyMMA’s “10 Questions” feature is back again, and this week Megan Olivi talks to UFC welterweight contender Martin Kampmann. Kampmann is coming off a comeback win over Thiago Alves at UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann last month in Sydney, Australia, sinking in a guillotine choke in the last minute of the fight. That win gave Kampmann two in a row and four wins in his last six – though the two losses, decisions to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, were both controversial ones that many observers believed should have gone his way.
Kampmann’s win over Alves got him a bout against another top contender at 170 pounds, Jake Ellenberger. The two will fight in the main event on the season finale card of “The Ultimate Fighter LIVE,” which takes place June 1 at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas. The TUF Live Finale, like the current season of TUF Live, will air live on the FX cable network. Tickets for the show go on sale to UFC Fight Club members Wednesday at 1 p.m. Eastern, to UFC newsletter subscribers at 1 p.m. Thursday and to the general public at 1 p.m. Friday.
“The Hitman,” who trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, talks about his win over Alves, his fight against Ellenberger and the extreme ways he spends his time outside the gym.
1. Have you watched the fight from Australia? What do you think of your performance before the submission?
I wasn’t happy with it. I couldn’t find my rhythm in the standup. I was getting tagged way too much. When I had the opportunity to finish the fight, I seized it. I’m happy I got the win, but there is still a lot of improvement to make.
2. You now have two wins in a row. Do you feel like this is the momentum you needed to get back on track?
I have confidence always in myself – I feel if I come out and give my best performance, I can beat anyone. So of course it’s nice to get wins, but I am confident in myself and confident in my skills, so I feel I can beat anyone in the welterweight division.
3. On June 1, you’ll be fighting Jake Ellenberger. Where do you feel he is most dangerous?
I think he has big hands. Big power punches. That’s what to watch out for the most. He’s obviously got good wrestling, as well, but the biggest threat he poses is his big hand.
4. You hold a win over UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. Is it frustrating seeing the position he’s in, holding the interim belt, knowing you beat him?
It doesn’t bother me at all. We had a great fight, and it was a very close fight. I was glad I got the win. A lot of people wanted to see two more rounds. I’m down for two more rounds – let’s make it a five-rounder next time I fight him. I thought I made a lot of mistakes in that fight. I think I can fight a lot better then what I did. And I’m sure Carlos feels the same way – he’s competitive. I’m ready to go in there and do it again. I like Carlos – I think he’s a cool guy. I’m glad he’s doing well. That’s a guy I had a tough fight with, so seeing him do well means he is a really tough dude.
5. What do you think about the welterweight fight at UFC on Fox 3 between Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck?
I think Hendricks is tough. I used to train with him when he was still here in Vegas. Tough guy, great wrestler, and he has power punches, too. He hits hard. Koscheck hits hard. They are both tough guys.
6. The UFC welterweight division is stacked, and many say this fight between you and Ellenberger is for the No. 1 contender spot. Where do you personally feel you fit into the picture if you come out with a victory?
I think that’s my spot – No. 1 contender. I’m prepared to beat up some more guys, though, if I have to.
7. If you win on June 1 and do become the No. 1 contender, let’s say Condit waits for Georges St-Pierre to recover instead of taking another fight. Would you wait for the winner, or would you take another fight in the meantime?
I’m not focused on that at all. I am focused on beating Ellenberger June 1. After that, then we will see how everything lines up. It all comes down to when GSP is fighting again, because right now it’s all rumors. It depends on a lot of things. Obviously I don’t like sitting around waiting – I like to fight. That’s my job. That’s what I like to do.
8. So when you’re not fighting or training, what do you like to do for fun in your downtime?
This past weekend, a bunch of the guys from Couture’s went paintballing. I couldn’t go because I was in Canada, but I wanted to. That’s something that I like to do.
9. Do you spend a lot of time outside of the gym with any of your Xtreme Couture teammates?
We hang out – all of those guys are some of my best friends. So I always hang out with a lot of guys from the team and the gym.
10. What is something your fans would be surprised to know about you?
I used to go ski and snowboard with my dad. Before I got into fighting so much, I wanted to be a skier. I will still go up to Mt. Charleston and ski and snowboard as long as I’m not in camp.
Make sure to check out past entries in the “10 Questions” series with HeavyMMA’s Megan Olivi:
10 Questions With Demetrious Johnson: ‘Mighty Mouse’ talks his move to flyweight, his upcoming wedding and his love of baking
10 Questions With Johny Hendricks: UFC welterweight talks winning fights in the cage and in World of Warcraft
10 Questions With Zack Makovsky: ‘Fun Size’ talks Bellator title defense, bad stoppages and that classic nickname
10 Questions With Charis Burrett: Businesswoman, model talks about ventures new and old