On his last fight, Kampmann admitted that the knockout came from Hendricks capitalizing on his slow start. “You know,” said Kampmann, “I’ve been a slow starter in a lot of my fights. When I fought Jake Ellenberger, I got knocked down in the first minute… but I came back and I knocked him out. You know, I got to work on being a little more on my toes from the get go. I get in there, and I’m kind of slow to start off, and people capitalize on it. I used to be a fast starter, I used to get in there and try to get on the other guy’s neck hard. Somewhere along the line, I got a little slow. But it’s something I’m going to pick up in training. When you start slow like that, that’s a risk. You can get clipped with a hard shot, especially with a guy like Johnny that hits hard. But I feel like I can beat him. I would love for that fight to go longer, but unfortunately it finished before I even got started. It’s just a **** up on my part, but I’ll come back stronger, I’ll learn from the mistake.”
Kampmann recalled that, following the loss, he felt “Disappointed in [myself] and, you know, [my] performance, because I could have done a lot better. I trained with Johnny in the past, and I felt comfortable coming in there to fight him, but sometimes you know, you **** up and things don’t go your way… Of course, you know, I never get over a loss. I want to revenge all my losses I ever had. I want to revenge every single one of them. You know, you never get over a loss, but I mean that’s part of life. You got to move on and step on up to the next one. It sucks, but that’s how it is. You can’t change the past, you got to look forward. The best thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and correct those mistakes and come back stronger.”
Unfortunately for Kampmann, his last mistake came in a fight that was slated to determine the number one contender to face Georges St. Pierre. The knockout launched Johnny Hendricks into the top of the welterweight division, earning him a fight against number two contender, Carlos Condit last weekend. For Kampmann, however, the loss has kept him from fighting since November. With a return hopefully this summer, he will be looking at a potential 7-month break between fights, his longest since an injury in 2007. He is using the time to recover from a recent knee surgery. “It’s kind of going up and down,” he said, “I’ve had a couple different treatments done to is. It’s starting to get better, bugging me a little bit, but it’s definitely getting better. I’m starting to get a fight lined up so I’ll have something to train for.”
Indeed, Kampmann has contacted UFC matchmaker, Joe Silva. “I had a really short conversation via email,” he described, “and I just told him I’d like to fight this summer… but they haven’t come back with any potential dates or potential opponents yet, so we’ll see what he comes up with and we’ll take it from there.”
Kampmann has been proactive in trying to get a fight because, as he describes, “you got to get on it and tell him you want to fight, because they book the fight cards already [for] July… If you want to get in, you’re going to have to let him know. I’d love to get a fight in, I don’t want to wait too long. I’m back, I’m training hard… I’m still in the gym, I’m still in there sparring and wrestling… so I’m ready and want to get the fight in.”
For his training, Kampmann has long been a member of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, NV. A camp that at one time boasted the sport’s top names, Xtreme Couture has slowly been fading in terms of its fighters and their presence in MMA. Kampmann acknowledged the change, but he is comfortable staying there because it continues to provide a high level of training. “It’s a long story,” he explains, “but unfortunately we don’t have as many of the best guys to train with any more, so some guys have been going out to get some of the sparring in other gyms. But we’ve still got a ton of great guys to work with in Vegas, but just spread out a little bit more than they used to be…. I go to other gyms in town as well: I go to Drysdale’s, I go to Syndicate, and I get good training in there as well… But everybody’s been scattered a little bit around the place, so we’ll see what happens, but I still get good training in there.”
Kampmann admits that gym founder, Randy Couture, may be responsible for some of the team leaving. “I definitely think [it’s] when he stopped fighting and he started pursuing other interests,” said Kapmann on Couture, “like doing movies and stuff like that, he didn’t come into the gym as much as he used to, where he used to be in the gym a lot, and that had a great effect. I used to love having Randy run practice, he’s just an inspiration to have in the gym.” Even still, Kampmann explained that life has simply moved the gym’s core fighters away for various reasons. “There’s just a lot of different things, people moving away, not necessarily something wrong with the gym. Just had a bad spiral where guys weren’t showing up because of vacation or whatever, and then all of a sudden guys start showing up at another gym, and then when the guys are there, that’s where people are going to show up.”
Whether at Xtreme Couture or not, Kampmann will continue to train out of Las Vegas. He sees the city as an ideal training town, with strong gyms and world-class fighters all at close-reach. With the sport growing and Kampmann himself expanding his training to other gyms, he runs the risk of training with fighters he may face one day. That issue, however, doesn’t worry him at all. “It doesn’t bother me to train with guys I’d potentially fight,” he said. “Of course, he’s going to get an eye on what you’re good at, you’re going to get an eye at what he’s good at, but it goes both ways. More than anything, it’s beneficial. You might not fight each other, but you could be fighting other guys, and then you could benefit from training with each other. I don’t put too much thought into that, I wouldn’t mind training with any other guys who could potentially fight me. I’ve already done that before, you know, I trained with Jake Shields before I fought him. I’ve trained with a lot of different guys, a lot of guys who I ended up fighting.