Martin Kampmann Picks GSP to Win at UFC 158; Happy to Face Nick Diaz Next

Damon Martin@@DamonMartinContributor IMarch 4, 2013

UFC welterweight Martin Kampmann isn't dwelling on his loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC 154 last year, but he is certainly itching to get back in the cage to wash out the bad taste of defeat from his mouth.

Kampmann lost to his former training partner in the first round last November. Since that time, he's been healing and making sure that his body is fit and ready when he gets back in action.  The timeline for his return has been delayed, however, due to a lingering problem with his knee that has haunted him for a couple of years now.

Following his win over Jake Ellenberger last year, Kampmann opted to have some corrective knee surgery. But now two months into 2013, he's still having issues, so he's awaiting his leg to fully heal before booking another fight.

"I'd love to fight soon, but I want to get my knee healthy, I want to get my knee strong," Kampmann told Bleacher Report over the weekend while attending the Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH.  "I had surgery on it last summer, but it's still been bugging me.  It's annoying, I guess cut it off and get a new leg or something, but it will be better.  Hopefully, I'll get a fight lined up by summer. I don't want to be on the sideline for too long and get back in there hopefully against a big named opponent."

Realistically, Kampmann knows he's coming off a loss and won't get a title shot, or likely even one of the top contenders who win at UFC 158 in just a couple of weeks.

So why not target the fighter who doesn't come away with the belt in the main event between current welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and challenger Nick Diaz?

"There's a lot of tough fights coming up.  A lot of good fights in March. I'm not going to get to fight for the title so maybe I can fight the guy that comes up short, Nick Diaz or GSP," Kampmann stated.   "Whoever loses that fight, I'd love to fight.  I'd prefer to fight the winner, but I know that's not going to happen so maybe I can get the loser of that fight."

UFC matchmaker Joe Silva typically likes to match up fighters coming off of wins with other fighters who have recently been victorious and the same with competitors fresh off of a loss.  Kampmann's theory plays well into whom he's hoping to fight next, and with his projected return date during the summer, it could be a fight the UFC would look to book no matter who comes out on top at UFC 158.

Kampmann believes, like a lot of fighters do, that Georges St-Pierre will come out on top in his fight against Diaz, but no matter who wins, he'll happily challenge the other guy.

"I think GSP's going to beat Diaz, so maybe fight Nick Diaz.  If Diaz pulls it off, I'd be happy to fight GSP as well," said Kampmann.

Kampmann's sole focus now is to get his knee healthy so he can return to action later this year as close to full health as possible and get back on track towards his ultimate goal of earning a UFC title shot.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.