After 13 long weeks, some great fights and an injury with one of the coaches, the 15th season of The Ultimate Fighter has come to a close and the finale card is just a day away. With 10 bouts divided across Facebook, Fuel TV and FX and a main event that has many anticipating an epic battle, I feel pretty confident that Friday night will provide plenty of pop to avid fans.
Headlining this action packed event will be a welterweight bout featuring Martin Kampmann vs. Jake Ellenberger. The minute this fight was announced, I knew we would all be treated to something special, as these two always put on amazing performances. In a recent interview with TapouT Radio, Kampmann gave his thoughts leading into Friday night's card.
*Note: This interview was brief one, as we only had a few minutes with Martin. He was in the middle of doing a media day for the UFC, so we tried not to take up too much of his time.
"Interviewer" is either my co-host, Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, or myself. When I don't conduct these interviews solo, I just put "Interviewer" to eliminate having to bounce back and forth between three different names.
Interviewer: What are your overall thoughts going into this fight with Jake?
Martin Kampmann: Of course I'm looking forward to the fight. I'm going to kick some ass. It should be a good one. Jake definitely comes to fight, and it's going to be five rounds of action. Hopefully I'll stop it before the five rounds, so almost five rounds of action [laughs].
Interviewer: Many fighters are fond of saying, 'I want to drag him into deep water.' Do you feel his cardio could mean deep water for him?
Martin Kampmann: I don't know. We'll see. I've been training my ass off, and I'm prepared for five rounds. He's a professional. I'm sure he can go five rounds if he has to. I'm ready to go the full distance, but I don't want to go the full distance. I want to finish him, and that's what I'm going to do.
Interviewer: Is it kind of frustrating for you knowing that the welterweight division is kind of at a standstill with the title and the interim title sitting on the sidelines?
Martin Kampmann: Right now, I've got to focus on beating Jake Ellenberger, but of course, I want to fight for the title. If it's Carlos Condit or Georges St. Pierre, I'd love to fight for the title. I'd fight both of them at the same time if I had to. I just want to fight for that belt. I don't blame Condit for sitting out. He's waiting for GSP so they can unite the titles and I'd love to fight the winner of that fight.
Interviewer: Has there been any word from the UFC brass that the winner of this fight will get a title shot?
Martin Kampmann: No, there's no guarantee on anything. It could be a long time before GSP fights, and I don't want to be sitting around waiting to fight for a title shot. I mean, if I was offered a title shot, I'd take it, but I get paid to fight, and that's what I like to do. If I have to beat up some more guys, that's what I have to do. We'll see what goes on after this fight.
Interviewer: Many are viewing this fight as a striker vs. grappler match. Is that how you see it?
Martin Kampmann: I don't think it can be put like that. I think if it hits the ground, I'm gonna submit his ass. I'm much better at jiu jitsu than he is. He can definitely hold his own in striking. He's got a lot of knockout victories, heavy hands and good boxing.
All my knockout victories were before I was in the UFC. Since then, I've been submitting people, and he's not just a wrestler. He's very dangerous in the standup. His biggest asset is his big, heavy hands, but I'm not worried. I can take a punch, and I'm going to pick him apart.
Interviewer: Where do you see Jake having advantages in this fight?
Martin Kampmann: I think I've got all the advantages. He's definitely dangerous, and I'm not underestimating him. He's got heavy hands, and I'm sure it's going to hurt getting punched by him, but I've taken big shots before. I've got a good chin. Of course I prefer not to get hit, and just hit him all night, but it's a fight, and you're gonna get hit. I'm ready for it.
Interviewer: Is there any animosity between you and Jake, or is this just business as usual?
Martin Kampmann: He's a cool guy, I guess. I don't really know him too well. I've only talked to him a few times, so I don't know him much at all.
Interviewer: Do you prefer not knowing your opponents, so there's no personal feelings involved?
Martin Kampmann: I don't like to beat up on guys I like. I prefer to beat up on guys I don't know. It's possible we could be friends after this, but we're definitely not going to be friends on Friday. On Friday we're gonna bring it, and I'm gonna beat up Jake Ellenberger.
Follow Martin via his Twitter, @MartinKampmann