Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009 | midnight
The last time Martin Kampmann had an opponent change on him before a fight, it didn’t work out too well.
In September, Kampmann learned that a head injury had forced Mike Swick to pull out of their scheduled welterweight bout for UFC 103 and that newcomer Paul Daley would take his place.
With only 15 days to study his new opponent, Kampmann (15-3) accepted the change but ended up suffering a TKO loss to Daley in the first round.
It must have been déjà vu for the Danish fighter when he received word earlier this month that Rory Markham had pulled out of their fight on Jan. 2 due to knee injury and that the UFC was searching for a replacement.
When they found one in Jacob Volkmann (9-1) however, Kampmann wasn’t upset about the change. He was just happy he still got to compete.
“New Years and Christmas was coming up and I knew it was going to be hard to find me an opponent,” Kampmann said. “I know if it was me and I was getting ready for Christmas, it would be tough to get ready for a fight on short notice.
“I could see a lot of reasons to turn down a fight around this time of year so I was just happy they found someone.”
That said, no one would fault Kampmann for feeling a little down from his recent bad luck.
Originally, that September fight against Swick at UFC 103 was going to determine the next shot at welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
Instead, it will be Dan Hardy that gets the next crack at the title after Kampmann and Swick both went on to lose their next fights following Swick’s injury.
Although Kampmann says he’s put the frustration of that missed opportunity in the past, it’s clear that there is a feeling of ‘what if’ for the Las Vegas-based fighter.
“I think that could still be a good fight,” said Kampmann, on possibly meeting Swick at some point in the future. “We’re the guys that were supposed to fight for a title shot. I’d be ready to fight him.”
In addition to losing the opportunity to fight for a title when Swick pulled out, the loss to Daley itself was controversial, as many believe it was stopped too early.
Kampmann was rocked by a few good shots early in the fight but appeared to still be protecting himself when referee Yves Lavigne pulled Daley away.
After watching replays of the fight, Kampmann says he felt the fight could have continued but blames himself for the way he responded to the early pressure from Daley.
“I can learn from it, sometimes I just have to be more cautious,” Kampmann said. “To go in and trade punches with a heavy hitter like that isn’t not the smartest thing to do. I do that in sparring sometimes — Somebody will hit you and you get mad and want to hit him back.
“I have to keep my emotions in check and get them back a little later.”
For now though, Kampmann’s focus needs to be on Volkmann and avoiding back-to-back losses for the first time in his professional career.
Although Volkmann looked fairly lackluster in his UFC debut, a unanimous decision loss to Paulo Thiago at UFC 106, he could represent a challenge in that he’s the exact opposite of Markham, the fighter Kampmann had originally prepared for.
“He’s a totally different guy than Markham,” Kampmann said. “He’s a wrestler and a grappler and I think he’ll try to take the fight to the ground. Markham is all standup. They are completely different, but I’m prepared for it.”