Martin ‘Hitman’ Kampmann – Ready for His Return at UFC 85
By Justin Bolduc
PunchDrunkGamer’s Justin Bolduc recently caught up with undefeated UFC middle-weight contender Martin Kampmann to discuss his upcoming fight at UFC 85, his training and recovery from a knee injury that has kept him out of the cage for over a year.
PDG: You have a tough opponent coming up in Jorge Rivera; what do you think of him and what do you think of the fight?
Martin: I think it should be a good fight. He’s a tough guy and has had a lot of fights – he’s a veteran. I think it will be a good fight for the fans too. He comes out hard and I’m going to come out hard; so I don’t think it’s going to go the distance.
PDG: In his last fight, when he beat Kendall Grove, he looked like a new fighter. Do you think he was able to revitalize his career?
Martin: I don’t know. Sometimes he comes out too strong. I don’t know if he’s inconsistent. I’ve seen some other fights besides [against Kendall] and he looked really good. You never really know what guy is going to show up. He’s definitely dangerous, that’s for sure.
PDG: He’s a big, heavy hitter – and your last opponent (Drew McFedries) was also a big hitter. Are you able to take anything away from your fight against Drew for this fight?
Martin: Stop blocking with my chin. I don’t think I’ve got to show much of my stand-up in my fights like I’ve wanted to. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that in this fight.
PDG: You’ve been out for a while because of your knee injury; how are you feeling at this point?
Martin: I feel much better. It’s been tough not having been able to train and just sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else fight – not able to do anything. I’m back training and I’m really excited about fighting, so I can’t wait.
PDG: It’s definitely better to take the time off and do it right though.
Martin: Yeah. It was a pretty big injury, so I definitely didn’t want to rush that, for sure. It takes time to get back [to 100%], but I’m back now training and hitting the gym hard. I just have that mental barrier to get over now, but I’ll be ready to fight.
PDG: You’ve had some critics concerning your weight and some people think you are too small for the 185-pound division. What do you think of the critics and have you thought about moving down to fight consistently at 170?
Martin: I’ve considered it – but to those critics, I have won all of my fights at 185. I might not be one of the biggest middleweights, but I’m still winning my fights – which is the main point. I’m feeling good at middleweight and I don’t mind fighting bigger guys.
PDG: Who are you going to train with for this fight, and when will your training camp kick in full gear?
Martin: I’m just about starting to step it up a little bit more. I have so many good guys at the gym to train with – Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Robert Drysdale – a new jiu-jitsu guy that just joined the gym, he’s a bad ass. He has his buddy [Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza] training up here too. So I’m having fun training with those guys too. They have a sick ground game, so that’s been cool. There is always someone good to work with at Xtreme Couture.
PDG: So you’ve had a chance to roll with “Jacare” Souza?
PDG: What has that experience been like for you?
Martin: A learning experience. He has a lot of moves up his sleeve. He’s a strong, explosive guy too. He’s going to be an impact on mixed martial arts too. He’s a real cool guy too; I only have good things to say about him.
PDG: What do you like to do outside of the ring?
Martin: I like to chill and hang out with the guys. I like to go see a movie, go play poker, and hang out with my girl. Between training, especially when you are in a training camp, you just want to go sit on the couch and chill – you don’t want to go out and do crazy stuff. When I have days off I like to go hiking and stuff like that, or paint-balling with the guys. Anything fun, go shooting or something.
PDG: Where do you see yourself in the UFC’s middleweight division right now?
Martin: I think with my layoff people maybe forgot about me a little – I’ve been out for a year; that is a long time. I’m in no rush to get a title shot. I’m taking one fight at a time. I’ll take this fight, and then take it from there.
PDG: Your fight is a ways out so you probably don’t have any yet, but are there any sponsors you’d like to mention?
Martin: No, not yet. Let them know they can call me up; I’m still working on sponsors for this fight. Nothing has come through yet, so call me up. Everybody out there – I’ll cut you a deal.
PDG: To wrap things up is there anything else you’d like to say?
Martin: Thanks to all the fans for supporting me, even when I was injured. I’m looking forward to when I come back – I can’t wait. It’s going to be a good fight.
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