The UFC Countdown for 103 highlighted upcoming fights between Rich Franklin and Vitor Belfort, Mirko Cro Cop and Junior Dos Santos, and Josh Koscheck and Frank Trigg. There hasn’t been a lot talk concerning the contest between Martin Kampmann. That’s a big disappointment for Kampmann, who was originally scheduled to be fighting in a welterweight title elimination match with Mike Swick.
During the UFC 100 broadcast, Joe Rogan asked himself “Who’s next,” to face off against the dominant welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre. UFC matchmaker Joe Silva responded by pointing to the then-scheduled bout between Martin Kampmann and Mike Swick.
In fact, the whole UFC 103 card had a completely different look back then. At that time, the most notable match on the card was the one featuring Swick and Kampmann, while other bouts were the ones featuring Trigg and Koscheck, the Escudero and Miller, Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca, as well as a main event that was then undetermined. Sean Sherk has been replaced by Tyson Griffin due to injury.
So at that time it seemed like Kampmann vs Swick would at least be a co-main event. When Swick pulled out of the fight due to a concussion, the whole scenerio changed. Now Kampmann finds himself in a fourth billing afterthought of a match against Paul Daley.
Mike Swick and Martin Kampmann have both been having a lot of success lately. Both had been doing well at middleweight before suffering losses to bigger and stronger fighters in Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt respectively.
Following those losses, both fighters moved down to welterweight, where they have again been findng a lot of success. Swick has compiled a four fight win streak including victories over Ben Saunders, Marcus Davis, while Kampmann beat Carlos Condit, adding to a resume that already included a notable victory over former middleweight title challenger Thales Leites.
Unfortunately for Swick and Kampmann, neither has been able to get that breakthrough performance necessary to warrant a title shot. In search of a fresh faced challenger, the UFC brass thought that matching the two up might finally provide enough momentum for the victor to get that shot.
A victory over Paul Daley might not be enough to convince fans that he has what it takes to challenge St. Pierre. Paul Daley is known to be a very good striker, but lacks the grappling skills found in most of the welterweight contenders.
Kampmann has been steadily improving his grappling game, to the point that he should be able to submit Daley. However, earning a victory by submission might not be in his best interests. A submission victory for Kampmann is probably the easiest way for Kampmann to win, but it would not be the most impressive.
Daley has been submitted before, but he has never been knocked out (His TKO loss was in a bout stopped due to a dislocated thumb.) For Martin Kampmann to possibly earn himself a title shot, he’ll need to knock out Paul Daley, or at the very least, engage in a real barn-burner of a striking match, and come out as the unanimous victor.
Even that might not be enough to earn himself a title shot. Part of the problem with having a dominant champion is that it becomes increasingly difficult to make fans believe that fights with contenders will be competitive.
The UFC had this problem with Anderson Silva, and now they have the problem with St. Pierre.
Even Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch are considered to be far below GSP despite being the next highest ranked fighters in the division.
So what is the UFC going to do?
Jon Fitch is scheduled to fight Ricardo Almeida at UFC 106, while Thiago Alves is currently scheduled to fight Paulo Thiago at UFC 107. A victory for Almeida might grant him a title shot, but it seems unlikely that wins for Fitch or Alves will be enough to earn rematches with the champion.
Koscheck and Trigg are both former contenders, but both need more than one win to put themselves back into contention.
Mike Swick seems to be one fight away, but due to his concussion, he’s sidelined and currently has no opponent.
Barring an implosion of Strikeforce and a move by Jake Shields into the Octagon, the UFC welterweight division is still in search of a clear title challenger.
Because of this, the UFC will likely be giving the next title shot to the guy who is most impressive in his next outing. That’s why Martin Kampmann must be impressive in his next fight, despite the current lack of hype.
Tags: Anderson Silva, Ben Saunders, Carlos Condit, Georges St. Pierre, Jake Shields, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Junior Dos Santos, Martin Kampmann, Mike Swick, Mirko Cro Cop, Paul Daley, Paulo Thiago, Ricardo Almeida, Rich Franklin, Sean Sherk, Strikeforce, Thiago Alves, UFC, Vitor Belfort