clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Martin Kampmann on Getting Ready for 'War' at UFC Fight Night

On Wednesday I talked to Martin Kampmann about his preparation for the biggest fight of his career, a battle with Carlos Condit at the UFC Fight Night on April 1.

Kampmann said he expects the fight with Condit to be "a war" and that he sees Condit as a dangerous opponent on many levels. We also talked about how he went from an engineering student in Denmark to a fighter in Las Vegas, and what he hopes to do after he leaves the fight game.

The full interview is below.

Michael David Smith: This is going to be your first time fighting in a main event. What does that mean to you?
Martin Kampmann: It's great. It's a big honor. It's great exposure to be in a main event.

You just fought in January and you're getting about 11 weeks off. Is that enough?
Yeah, I just took a week off and then I went back and trained, so it's fine. I'll probably take a little time off after this fight, but we'll wait and see.

Ideally, how many fights would you like to have each year?
I'd say four. I like to stay busy. I'm going to be training anyway, so I might as well fight.

So you're not one of these fighters who gets out of shape between fights and then back into shape during training camp?
No. I might take a couple days off, or if I go back home to Denmark maybe more, but I'll still be training. I don't take months off or anything like that. I enjoy training.

You had a pretty serious knee injury a couple years ago that forced you to take more than a year off.
That was horrible. Absolutely horrible. Sitting on the sidelines and not being able to fight or train or anything. That was the worst experience of my life.

What were you doing during that time?
A lot of rehab and a lot of frustration. Tough times.

What kind of fight are you expecting from Carlos Condit?
I think it's going to be a war. It's going to be a great fight. He's a tough guy and I'm just going to get in there and try to punch him in the face, and he's going to try to do the same to me. It should be a great fight.

Have you watched a lot of tape of Condit?
No, not that much. I've watched a couple of his fights but that's it. He's good at a lot of things. He's dangerous on the ground, he's got good submissions off his back, he's got dangerous knees and kicks. He's good. I pretty much know what I have to look out for.

Where do you think Condit ranks among the toughest opponents you've fought?
I don't know. I've fought a lot of guys who are tough, and I'll leave the rankings to somebody else. No matter who you fight in the UFC it's going to be a tough fight and anything can happen. Everybody's tough in the UFC and Carlos Condit is definitely tough.

How comfortable are you fighting at 170 pounds after moving down from 185?
Oh, it's very comfortable. It's no problem at all. It's an easy cut. Not tough at all. I'm pretty light right now so the cut shouldn't be any problem.

How much do you weigh right now?
I'm about 180.

The welterweight division of the UFC might be the most talented division in any MMA promotion. Where do you think you fit in it?
Well, that's up to the UFC. I just want to keep winning, keep getting fights and move up the ladder. I just moved down to welterweight, so I'm not expecting any title fights coming up, and that's OK with me. I just want to keep fighting and keep winning.

Your wins have been pretty evenly split between knockouts and submissions. Do you make a point of trying to be a well-rounded fighter who can finish fights in a variety of ways?
I definitely try to be well-rounded. When it comes time to fight, I just want to win any way I can.

Who do you think is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world?
I don't know, probably Georges St Pierre or Anderson Silva or Fedor Emelianenko.

You're working at one of the top MMA gyms, Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Who are your primary training partners?
I work a lot with Jay Hieron and Mike Pyle. I try to work with everybody and learn from everybody, because every fighter has something to show me, but that's who I work with most.

How did you get into MMA?
I started doing amateur boxing and amateur Thai boxing, and then I got into submission wrestling and then MMA developed gradually from that.

Growing up did you like martial arts movies?
Oh, yeah, I got into karate when I was a kid because I wanted to know those moves, that badass stuff you'd see in movies.

How popular is MMA in Denmark?
It's very small, but it's growing. There's a lot more shows now than there were when I was starting to fight. It's not mainstream like here in the States yet. It's a little under the radar, but there's some MMA back home, and it's growing for sure. Hopefully ina couple years it could be as big as it is over here.

When did you first see the UFC? Were you able to watch it in the Royce Gracie days or were you only able to see it in Denmark more recently?
More recently than that. I don't even know which one was the first I saw, but probably around 2000 I started watching it. And I saw the old ones, old UFC tapes, and I thought it was cool, so that was a big reason I got into it.

Do people recognize you as a fighter in Denmark?
Some do, but like I said, it's still a small sport that not that many people follow. But some do, and it's mostly younger guys who are into MMA and watch the fights.

In addition to being recognized more when you're in Vegas, I'm sure the weather is a big adjustment going between Vegas and Denmark.

Yeah, I prefer Denmark in the summer. It's so hot in Vegas in the summer, and Denmark is a nice place to be then. So I like to spend summer there. But now it's too cold.

Do you think at all about going back there, or what you want to do when you retire?
I used to study engineering, back in Denmark, and I didn't finish it because I chose to pursue the fight business. So I might go back to that, go back to school in Denmark. Or I might open up a gym and start coaching. I think it's fun coaching guys who are fighting, up-and-coming guys. I could see myself doing that.

So you were in college studying engineering?
Yeah, and I was fighting professionally and I kind of got stuck in between. I didn't make enough money to fight professionally full-time but I wanted to pursue that. I always felt like I was lagging on my training because of school or I was lagging on my school because of my training. I didn't want to be 50% on either one, I wanted to give myself 100% to something. I actually decided to fight full-time after I beat Thales Leites in my second fight in the UFC [in 2006]. That's when I made up my mind that after the semester I would move out to Vegas and do this full-time.

Did you know that Shane Carwin still works as a full-time engineer?
Really? What kind of engineer?

He works for a water district in Colorado. So he's like you, an engineer and a fighter.
That's pretty cool. I still haven't finished, I'm not even halfway through, so I'm not even close to really being an engineer, but I still may go back and do it some day.

Do you make long-term goals for yourself? Do you have something you want to accomplish in the next five years?
I want to keep fighting, keep winning my fights and hopefully get a title shot somewhere down the line. I think if I keep winning my fights that should happen. But I just take it one fight at a time and see where it takes me.