Las Vegan Martin Kampmann knows Carlos Condit might have added motivation going into their rematch tonight because Kampmann came away from their 2009 bout with a narrow victory.
But Kampmann also believes that defeat might be so ingrained in Condit’s mind that it could end up serving as a distraction as they prepare to fight again in the main event of an Ultimate Fighting Championship card in Indianapolis.
“I think it’s been nagging him, and I think it will be tough to overcome,” Kampmann said. “I try not to think about the first fight. My thing is to go in and look at this as a fresh fight. For him, I know it’s bothering him because you don’t want to lose to a guy again that you already lost to.
“I’m sure it’s somewhat motivational, but it’s also got to be something sitting in the back of your head all the time, driving you crazy.”
The 31-year-old Kampmann knows all about that feeling. He can rattle off the names of the five fighters who have beaten him over the course of his 16 fights in the UFC and wants to even the score with all of them.
His most recent fight is particularly bothersome.
Kampmann had won three fights in a row before Johny Hendricks knocked him out in 46 seconds in November.
“You don’t ever get over a loss. I hate losing, and I’d love to get a chance to avenge that loss,” he said. “But you have to deal with it. You can’t sit and ponder the past because you can’t change it. What you can do is learn from your mistakes and come back and improve and make a better future.”
For that future to include Kampmann reaching his ultimate goal of a welterweight title, he’ll have to repeat the past and knock off Condit again.
“I think he’s definitely improved in some ways, and in others he’s still the same guy,” Kampmann said. “He’s better, and so am I. I think our styles match up great. We both go for the finish, and that gives it the possibility to be a great fight.”
The first fight was a tightly contested, back-and-forth matchup, ultimately awarded to Kampmann by split decision. Both fighters had chances to finish, and there were few dull moments.
No matter the result this time, Kampmann knows why the UFC wanted a rematch to headline a card that will air live on Fox Sports 1 (Cable 329).
“The UFC put us in the main event spot because they know we make great fights,” he said. “We’re there because they know we’ll deliver.”
Kampmann should be fine as long as he can get through the first few minutes of the fight. Slow starts have plagued him in several fights, including the first-minute knockout by Hendricks.
“I didn’t show up (against Hendricks). It’s the same problem I’ve had in the past,” he said. “It happened when I fought (Jake) Ellenberger, even though I came back to win that fight. Against Hendricks, I wasn’t there from the beginning, and I never got a chance to get back in the fight. That’s the worst when you put so much time and preparation into a training camp like that and you don’t even get to fight. That’s a terrible feeling.
“I’ve been working on that mentally and getting ready to fight from the get-go and not hot having to take a punch before I’m ready to fight.”
Fortunately for Kampmann, he doesn’t believe the loss to Hendricks dropped him too far out of the title picture.
“I’m fighting in a main event, and I’m fighting Carlos Condit, who’s ranked in the top three,” Kampmann said. “A win should put me right back where I want to be, close to a title shot. I’ll fight all the guys I have to to get to a title, starting with Condit (tonight).”
Once he gets that shot, Hendricks could be the champion. He will fight St. Pierre for the belt in November.
Kampmann would like revenge on Hendricks but doesn’t necessarily have a preference on who he would like to beat to become champion.
“That would be sweet (to beat Hendricks for the title), but GSP is considered the one of the greatest ever, so I’d like to fight him, too,” Kampmann said.
He’ll need a win over the 29-year-old Condit to have any chance.
The card airs live on Fox Sports 1 at 5 p.m. Four preliminary card fights will be shown on Fox Sports 2 (Cable 319) at 3 p.m., and the remainder of the preliminary card will be streamed live on Facebook beginning at 2.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.