At Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann 2, the two headliners will square off in a rematch of a 2009 bout.
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On April 1 of that year, Carlos Condit made his UFC debut. Condit had been the reigning WEC champ when that promotion was absorbed by the UFC and was riding an eight-fight win streak, but instead of being granted an automatic title shot, he was paired off with a tough contender, Martin Kampmann, in Nashville, Tennessee. With high expectations in place, the bout delivered, and was considered by most to be one of the best of the year.
Condit: I don’t really remember if the fact it was my debut felt any different. I think I may have underestimated my opponent or maybe been too high on myself. I don’t think I was going into that fight with a real good mind set or attitude.
Kampmann: I felt confident going into the fight. I knew he was tough but I felt confident I could beat him. I feel the same this time around. I feel confident in my skill set. This time I got two more rounds, more time to get the finish.
Condit: I had different stuff going on in my life. I had just switched camps, moved out to Arizona. There was some different stuff happening. There was a lot of transition at the time. On top of that I was fighting Martin Kampmann. He’s just a really tough dude.
The fight was a see-saw battle. Condit out-landed Kampmann overall 71-52, but Kampmann had five takedowns to Condit’s five, and the two exchanged nine submission attempts over the course of the 15-minute bout.
Kampmann: I got a couple good chokes on him. At the end of the first I had a guillotine choke on him. That one was tight. I had a good grip on him and I was very sorry to hear the bell.
Condit: That was pretty tight, yeah.
Condit: I busted him up pretty good in the first. He got a cut. In the second, I opened up a little bit more also and continued to do quite a bit of damage.
Kampmann: I can’t remember every detail. The thing I remember is that I was really tired by the end of the second round. I was really gassed but I got a second wind going to the third.
In the third, Kampmann took an eye poke that caused a brief timeout.
Kampmann: I ended up with a scratched cornea. My vision was bugging me for the remainder of the round. I wasn’t seeing very well out of that eye. Fortunately a lot of that last round was grappling. At least I could see out of my other eye.
Condit: Basically, I think I lost focus in the fight a bit. Specifically, I thought I had won the first two rounds. Going into the third, I thought, ‘I’ll cruise and get the decision.’ That specifically is not something that I’ve done in the past and something that I’ve definitely learned from.
Condit: I had him in a guillotine when the horn sounded. I think had I had a little bit more time, I might have been able to finish it. But he had the guillotine in the first round that if there was more time, he might have finished it also.
Kampmann: I have a pretty good guillotine and train with guys with good guillotines. I didn’t feel in danger there at all.
Kampmann: It was definitely one of my more grueling fights. I had to dig deep. He put me in some tough spots. He got me in a rear naked choke. He didn’t get it locked in, but a lot of times if you can get that arm past the far shoulder, it’s a done deal. I was able to wiggle out of that as well. I got tired in that fight. It was a learning experience.
Condit: I was mostly unmarked at the end.
The fight seemed to have split-decision written on it even before the scorecards were read. Doug Crosby and Nelson Hamilton scored it 29-28 for Kampmann, but Cecil Peoples scored it 29-28 for Condit. The round-by-round scorecards were believed to be lost to time, but recently rediscovered. Sent to FOX Sports by Tennessee athletic commission director Jeffrey Mullen, they show little unanimity. Crosby scored the first and third for Kampmann; Hamilton awarded him the second and third. Peoples believed Condit won the first and second.
Mullen: When the decision was announced, I remember agreeing with Cecil. It was a great fight, a close fight, but I thought Condit was the winner.
Kampmann: I definitely knew it was close. The first two rounds were close. The third round I won decisively. I think that made the difference and swayed the judges in my favor. Of course if I could choose, I’d rather have a decisive victory.
Condit: I mostly felt disappointment in myself. Here it was a close fight, and judges see fights the way that they see them, but for me to have kind of lost focus in that third and tried to cruise to a decision was really my fault.
Kampmann: I made plenty of mistakes in the fight. He made mistakes as well. There’s a lot you can learn from a long three-round fight with back-and-forth action. Every time there’s a reversal or scramble, you can look at it again and see what you should have done differently. But overall I think it was great fight for both of us. We showed off a bunch of technical moves and it was a gritty war, but I was happy the decision went my way.
Condit: I was just disappointed with myself.
Condit used the loss as fuel, capturing five straight wins and going on to become the welterweight division’s No. 1 contender. Kampmann, while still considered a divisional standout, has had more uneven results, going 4-3 in his last seven, though two were close decision losses.
Condit: I think my fight IQ has improved most since then, my ability to play to my strengths and exploit my opponent’s weaknesses. In that fight, I don’t think I fought very smart. I kept engaging in the clinch with him. I’d been working my wrestling a bit and I wanted to go in there and show the things I’d been working on, but Martin was better and he was able to get the takedowns there. I was winning in the striking aspect. I should’ve probably tried harder to stay there.
Kampmann: I’ve tried to improve everywhere. I feel very confident in my skill level wherever the fight takes place.
Both are now coming off losses, but very different ones. Kampmann was knocked out by Johny Hendricks in just 46 seconds while Condit lost a decision to Hendricks in March.
Kampmann: I hate losing. I don’t think I showed up mentally for that fight and it cost me dearly. But I’m there for this one and it’s going to show when I whoop Condit’s ass. I’m going to win this fight, and it puts me back on top. That’s where I still want to be. It’s something that I work hard on every day, and beating Carlos is a way to get there.
Condit: I’m going to knock Martin Kampmann out. I’m going to knock him out.