In what could turn out to be one of the most important welterweight bouts of the year, Johny Hendricks defeated Martin Kampmann at UFC 154 on Saturday night.
Hendricks used his lethal left hand to knock Kampmann out just 46 seconds into the first round, shocking the crowd.
Both Hendricks and Kampmann have been rolling lately. Hendricks entered this fight having won his last four bouts, including victories over Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck. He has come back in a big way after suffering his first, and to date only, loss against Rick Story at the end of 2010.
For the longest time, Kampmann looked like one of those fighters whose talent was always going to outweigh his actual performance. He would always let his opponents dictate the pace and style of a fight, which wound up costing him some very winnable matchups.
All that changed after Kampmann lost two fights to Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez. He has gotten more aggressive and looked much more comfortable in his own skin, which led to him winning his last three fights.
There has been some talk that the winner of this match would be in line for a shot at the welterweight champion, either Georges St-Pierre or Carlos Condit.
Obviously plans can and will change, depending on what UFC deems to be in the best interest of business, but on merit, Hendricks has proven himself a worthy contender for the championship. He has beaten some of the biggest and best fighters the 170-pound division has to offer.
It also helps Hendricks' case that Nick Diaz is suspended until February, and Anderson Silva, who has been linked to St-Pierre if GSP defeats Condit, said that he isn't fighting again until the end of 2013.
We shall see what direction UFC ultimately decides to go, but Hendricks has certainly left the Dana White and Co. with a lot to think about.
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