weather icon Clear

Kampmann remains patient

Just when Las Vegan Martin Kampmann appeared to be nearing the final rung on the hierarchy of contenders in his quest for an elusive Ultimate Fighting Championship title shot, the ladder may have been stretched out right before his eyes.

A win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 154 on Saturday in Montreal should make Kampmann the clear-cut No. 1 contender to the welterweight belt.

By no means will that position automatically equate to an opportunity to fight for the belt anytime soon.

The organization seems to have grand plans for Georges St. Pierre, who returns from an 18-month absence because of knee surgery to defend his belt against interim champion Carlos Condit in the main event, to move up in weight for a megafight against middleweight champ Anderson Silva, provided St. Pierre emerges victorious.

It’s a scenario the 30-year-old Kampmann is well aware of, but not one that he will admit to spending a whole lot of time pondering.

“I don’t want to see that fight, because I want to fight for the title,” Kampmann said last week before departing for Canada. “There’s a lot of buts and ifs in that whole situation, so I don’t want to give it too much thought. My main priority is beating Johny Hendricks, and then I can start worrying about that stuff after.

“Georges St. Pierre’s main priority should be beating Carlos Condit. If he starts thinking ahead, he could get knocked out. Then, it’s a completely different situation.”

Kampmann has a plan to ensure he gets a title shot right away.

“I’m just going to knock Johny out and stay in the cage,” he said jokingly. “It makes it much easier. Then one of them will have to fight me.”

For what it’s worth, Kampmann thinks the UFC is pursuing the wrong superfight. He says Silva moving up to take on light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would be a more intriguing bout. He also acknowledged that would be a self-serving matchup, as it would clear the welterweight champion to defend the belt.

As if all that isn’t enough, there is also the Nick Diaz dilemma looming on the horizon. Diaz, also a welterweight, is incredibly marketable and will return from a marijuana suspension in early 2013, just in time to be thrust into a title bout.

Kampmann has had practice dealing with missing out on a title shot. He thought he had one wrapped up with a victory over Jake Shields in 2010, but the judges awarded Shields a controversial split decision. He then lost another controversial decision to Diego Sanchez, but has since reeled off three straight wins.

Kampmann insists he has avoided thinking about any of the hypotheticals involved with the title picture. His entire focus is on Hendricks, who spent time early in his career training with Kampmann at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.

Hendricks was raw as a mixed martial artist at the time, but Kampmann isn’t surprised that his former training partner has evolved into one of the top 170-pound fighters in the world.

“I think he’s a very strong guy with knockout power. Combine that with some of the best wrestling pedigree in the UFC and you’re bound to succeed,” Kampmann said of the two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American at Oklahoma State. “I think wrestling is the best background you can have for MMA. That’s one of the reasons I’ve worked so hard on my wrestling. I’m not surprised he’s done so well.”

Kampmann worked with Hendricks on his standup, and Hendricks helped Kampmann improve his wrestling during their time training together. While Kampmann thinks he knows Hendricks’ game well, he’s also taking a cautious approach.

“You can change a lot in a couple years. I can’t go in there with the mindset of, ‘Oh, this is how Johny fights,’ ” Kampmann said. “You could be caught off guard like, ‘Oh (expletive), what was that?’ I have to go in there with an open mind and be ready for whatever.”

After that, he will become a Condit fan.

“For me, it would be better for Carlos to win. Especially because I have a win over him (in 2009), and I know he wants to rematch, so of course,” Kampmann said. “At the same time, I’d like to fight GSP. He’s the all-time best welterweight, and that’s who I’d like to beat.”

That matchup might just take a bit longer to materialize.

The card airs live on pay per view at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Dana White signs four fighters to the UFC - Video
Four fighters were put under contract with the UFC following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series on Tuesday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Contender Series fighters react to being signed to the UFC
After making history as the first batch of winners to all earn contracts following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series, the fighters react to making it to the UFC.
Dana White signs all five winners at Contender Series
For the first time in the three-season history of Dana White's Contender Series, every winning fighter earned a UFC contract. Maki Pitolo, Joe Solecki, Antonio Trocoli, Hunter Azure and Jonathan Pearce impressed the UFC brass and were awarded contracts by the UFC president.
Jones says he was confident he secured a win over Santos at UFC 239 - Video
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones continued his reign by taking a split decision victory over Thiago Santos at UFC 239. He discusses the close call and entertains the idea of a trilogy bout with Daniel Cormier. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 recap: Jones and Nunes retain their titles - VIDEO
Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes both retained their titles at UFC 239. Jones took a decision over Thiago Santos in the main event and Nunes scored a first-round knockout of Holly Holm. Jorge Masvidal also made promotional history on July 6 by scoring a 5-second knockout over Ben Askren. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amanda Nunes on her win over Holly Holm at UFC 239 - Video
Amanda Nunes talks about continuing her reign as a two-division champion in the UFC after defeating Holly Holm with a head kick in the first round of their title bout at UFC 239. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239: Masvidal makes UFC history with 5-second knockout - Video
Jorge Masvidal discusses his history-making knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 and makes his case for a shot at the welterweight title next. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fighters at UFC 239 react to the 7.1 earthquake - Video
Fighters at UFC 239 talk about what they experienced when the 7.1 earthquake was felt in Las Vegas on Friday night. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Ceremonial Weigh-in Staredowns - Video
All fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena faced off against each other one last time before their bouts take place. In the main event, Jon Jones will put his light heavyweight belt on the line against Thiago Santos. In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will look to continue her reign as the women's bantamweight champion when she takes on Holly Holm.
UFC 239: Jon Jones says he wants to make a statement - VIDEO
Prior to UFC 239, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones says he's trying to challenge himself, set his own records to establish his legacy and explains how he's become comfortable with where he is in his career. He will put his title on the line in the main event against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Official Weigh-in Results
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena made weight at the official weigh-in at the New York-New York hotel-casino on Friday. The main event features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones putting his belt on the line against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Preview: Jones vs. Santos
Prior to UFC 239, the Review-Journal's Adam Hill and Heidi Fang break down the main event between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos for the light heavyweight title, the co-main championship tilt between Holly Holm and reigning bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes, and preview a feature bout between Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 media day: Masvidal says he has faced tougher competition than Askren
Ahead of facing rising UFC welterweight Ben Askren, promotional veteran Jorge Masvidal says he's faced tougher opponents in the past. Askren says don't be shocked by his approach to the fight at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Jones thanks fans for support through his dark times
At UFC 239 open workouts, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones thanked fans for their support during his "controversial moments" and says he wants to be more active through 2020. His challenger Thiago Santos says he will "shock the world" on July 6 and be the new division champion. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Holm wants to shock her naysayers
Holly Holm will look to reclaim the UFC women's bantamweight title when she faces two-division champion Amanda Nunes in the co-main event of UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena on July 6. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
White: I'm looking for different things on this show - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White spoke with media following the second episode of the third season of his show "Dana White's Contender Series". He explained why he signed the two fighters he did after their performances and discussed the heat he's taking for not signing Brendan Loughnane last week. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 240: Max Holloway beats Edgar, Cyborg wins

Reigning featherweight champ Max Holloway defended his belt Saturday, overwhelming former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at UFC 240.