No offense to LL Cool J, but let's go ahead and call this one a comeback.
Martin Kampmann (20-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) and his clutch heroics were on display again this past Friday as he authored a second consecutive you've-gotta-be-kidding-me triumph by knocking out surging contender Jake Ellenberger (27-6 MMA, 6-2 UFC).
The welterweight bout headlined The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale, which took place June 1 at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. It headlined the FX-televised main card, which followed prelims on FUEL TV and Facebook.
Another come-from-behind win and another bonus check for "The Hitman," who earned "Knockout of the Night" honors to add to his Hail Mary "Submission of the Night" conquest of Thiago Alves in March.
It's time to let the healing process begin.
"It would be nice to get in a couple fights where I'm not getting beat up first." Kampmann joked on MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
Ellenberger, a notoriously fast starter, stormed out of the gates and dropped Kampmann with a left hook roughly one minute into the fray.
"That's what I had been preparing for but ... I blocked the first part of his combination, but that last left hook slipped in and caught me pretty good," Kampmann said.
The Dane was able to pull guard and weather the storm by forcing Ellenberger to defend a guillotine choke while he cleared his head.
The second stanza began with a firefight, and Kampmann was beginning to look like a bloody mess. However, after an exchange, Ellenberger awkwardly stumbled away while attempting to reset following a punch. Kampmann then pounced on him with clinch knees that sent him tumbling to the mat.
Referee Steve Mazzagatti was forced to intervene and halt the contest at the 1:40 mark of the second round to save Ellenberger from further punishment.
Kampmann recalled some of the heavy blows he endured during the contest.
"The first knockdown at the beginning of the fight was more of a flash knockdown," he said. "It didn't really hurt that much. I think he caught me with some better shots in the second round that rocked me more, but didn't knock me down.
"I definitely think he's one of the hardest hitters at welterweight. He commits to his punches. I'll give him that. He can throw a proper punch."
The logical next step for Kampmann would be a matchup with fellow contender Johny Hendricks while interim champion Carlos Condit gets his shot at champion Georges St-Pierre, who is expected to return to the cage in November for the first time following knee surgery. But if St. Pierre's return has to be pushed back due to an unforeseen setback, there's a good chance Condit will be forced (or potentially voluntarily choose) to defend his belt against somebody.
And that somebody could be Kampmann.
"I want to fight for the title," he said. "That's what I want. I want to fight Carlos Condit, or I want to fight GSP. That's who I want to fight. And I think I earned the spot. But if I have to fight Johny to get there, then I guess that's what I'll have to do. The title is what I want to fight for."
Whoever it ends up being, Kampmann plans to be as close to 100 percent physically for the fight as possible, which is something he hasn't been for some time.
As a result, he's decided to go ahead and have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee that has been hampering him.
"I wanted to get it done a couple of fights ago, but I kept getting good fight offers," Kampmann said. "I kept fighting.
"I only feel it when I bend it. When I bend my knee sometimes, it will click. It's just a minor bug. It's nothing. I could still fight with it, but it's something that, more than anything, it bugs me in training. It doesn't bug me when I'm fighting."
If there ever was a good time, that time is probably now.
Kampmann is already scheduled for a month-long vacation to his native Denmark with his wife and young son. They have family to visit, weddings to attend, and they're preparing to welcome a second child into the world soon.
Now if he could only do something about those pesky sluggish starts in fights, he'd be all set. If there were a minor surgery to fix this issue, he'd be lining that up soon too.
"When I started fighting, I was a quick starter," Kampmann said. "I used to be in people's faces right away, but now lately, I'm kind of a slow starter.
"I've got to taste my blood a little bit to get fired up. I don't know where that change came, but I want to get back to my old ways."