In a little less than a month the Octagon will make its return to Montreal for UFC 154 where welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will put his belt on the line against interim title-holder Carlos Condit. Backstage there will be a number of interested parties with eyes glued to a monitor to see how things go down in the divisional duel, though none will be as invested in the result as the winner of the evening’s co-headlining clash between Martin Kampmann-Johny Hendricks.
The bout is set to determine a challenger for the welterweight strap, an honor all too rare these days considering GSP’s extended absence from competition due to injury. Then again, with the threat of Nick Diaz’s popularity always looming, as well as the likelihood of St-Pierre earning an immediate rematch if defeated, nothing is certain until names are on the dotted line.
Still, Kampmann is confident that success over Hendricks will earn him status as the clear-cut choice even if the UFC goes a different route.
“If I win this fight, I am the #1 contender. No doubt. Nobody’s got the same resume I do in the UFC in the welterweight division. I’ve beaten the best guys. There’s no other welterweight that’s coming on the same streak that I have,” said Kampmann in an interview with Sherdog Radio.
Kampmann is currently riding the momentum of consecutive wins over Rick Story, Thiago Alves, and Jake Ellenberger. He’s also notched a victory in the division against Condit, giving even more weight to his remarks on contendership.
Of course, Kampmann knows he has to get by Hendricks before concerning himself with a championship. On that front, the well-rounded Dane expects the bout to involve a good deal of striking based on his submission game, and he’s completely okay with that possibility.
“I feel definitely I would have the advantage in the stand-up, but he’s still got heavy hands that I’ve got to respect and watch out for. I’m going to stay out of danger,” explained Kampmann, adding, “I usually do, but I usually do get punched a little bit. It’s a fight — I’m going to get punched, but I can eat a shot and I can dish it back out.”
One thing he won’t be aiming for is the fight going the distance. Kampmann has been on the wrong end of a few close, even controversial, decisions and isn’t interested in risking the same being true on November 17.
“I want to put it in my own hands. And the way I’m going to put it in my own hands is by knocking out Johny Hendricks,” Kampmann concluded.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC