Martin Kampmann has heard this story before.
The veteran of 16 fights in the UFC has come close on several occasions to finally stepping into a title bout, but he still hasn't seen his name on the championship marquee.
Most recently, he was on the verge of a chance to face champion Georges St-Pierre when he headed into a matchup against Johny Hendricks at UFC 154. At the time, Kampmann was on a three-fight win streak that included a submission win over Thiago Alves and a knockout over Jake Ellenberger.
Everything went awry with one punch from Hendricks straight down the middle that planted Kampmann on his back just 46 seconds into the first round.
It wasn't supposed to go that way for Kampmann, who has consistently sat in the top 10 of the division for the better part of the last four years. To get back in the race, the Danish fighter will have to go back to the beginning of his welterweight run to start over again.
Back in 2009 when he was one fight into his career at 170 pounds after starting out in the UFC as a middleweight, he was matched up with the last-ever WEC welterweight champion—a tall, lanky striker named Carlos Condit.
The two fighters engaged in a back-and-forth battle over the course of 15 minutes, but when it was over, Kampmann had his hand raised in victory by split decision. Following that fight, Condit didn't taste defeat again until he had already captured the UFC interim welterweight title, and even after two consecutive losses, he still remains the No. 2 welterweight in the world.
So now Kampmann will go back to the well and face Condit again at UFC Fight Night 27 next Wednesday, when he attempts to get back on track for the title. Getting a rematch against a fighter he's already beaten isn't the ideal situation, but with Condit's championship credentials and Top Three ranking in the division, Kampmann had no problem accepting the rematch.
"I know Condit wanted to fight me again because he wanted to avenge that loss," Kampmann said about the upcoming bout. "He's a competitor, so I was actually asking to fight him or fight (Nick) Diaz. They're both lanky, they're both in the top 10, I want to fight guys that are ranked high. I want to get back in the hunt for the title."
"I need to beat guys that are ranked high, and right now Carlos Condit is ranked top in the world, top three, and he'll put me back in that spot where I want to be."
Since it's been four years since their last fight, both Kampmann and Condit have evolved in many ways, but sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Condit is still a tall, lanky striker with knockout power in both hands, his knees and his kicks. Kampmann knows that the New Mexico native isn't going to reinvent the wheel to get ready for their rematch.
"Of course he's changed, he's gotten better, but he still has the same strengths he had back then," he said. "He's got explosive, dangerous stand-up, and dangerous submissions. I'm sure he's improved and gotten a lot better, but so have I."
Kampmann understands that in the world of MMA you only get so many second chances.
He's come close to a title shot so many times he might get a trophy for world's best runner-up, but he has no desire to ever be second place.
There are no blue ribbons for the next best fighter or the one who almost got to a championship.
Kampmann knows that he can't come in second to Condit this time around and expect to get any closer to championship glory. As a matter of fact, he needs to put a stamp on this performance to erase the memory of his last fight against Hendricks. He has to send a notice to the rest of the division that he's the one guy they need to worry about.
He beat Condit once already, so this time he's got to make an example out of him.
"I can predict it's not going to go the distance," he said about his fight with Condit. "I've got five rounds, I'm going to get the finish this time—that's going to be the only difference."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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