By Josh Stein on Sep 21, 2009
There’s a long history of great upsets in MMA, and while this is hardly St. Pierre vs. Serra I, Paul Daley (22-8-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) upsetting Danish warrior Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann (15-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC, #7 IWMMAR) was definitely unexpected.
The popular dictum, and having gone back and forth with some great minds on the sport, I can say it was pretty consistent, was that Daley could challenge Kampmann standing up. But they were pretty even on the feet and Kampmann, who’s ground game has been pretty solid throughout his UFC career, could definitely dominate the Brit on the mat. No one seemed to expect the fight to stay standing very long. And it seemed like the gameplan, given the coaching from Kampmann’s corner.
There were many, myself included, who thought the stoppage was bad. Upon revisiting the footage, I’d like to retract that, and the subsequent shots at Yves Lavigne. The only thing supporting Kampmann was the cage and, in that respect, it was a good call on the part of the referee, especially observing Kampmann’s slugishness in recovering afterwards.
But that controversy is minor. What’s shocking is that Kampmann, who many considered a legitimate frontrunner to take on welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (19-2 MMA, 13-2 UFC, #1 IWMMAR) , was taken out by a relatively one dimensional British muay thai fighter with little name recognition, no UFC experience and a notably disappointing groundgame, especially with the acknowledgment that Daley took the fight on short notice.
Daley is an accomplished kickboxer and muay thai fighters popular considered one of Britain’s best, and one of the best in Europe. He trains with the legendary Dutch kickboxing camp Vos Gym, which has featured some of Holland’s best kickboxing products, including K-1 champion Ernesto Hoost and heavyweight enigma Gilbert Yvel. Daley is a warrior and working with that high grade of fighters speaks well for Daley’s standup, which is actually a great addition to the UFC roster. However, the greatest hole in his game (a hole characteristic of many of his training partners at Vos Gym, including Yvel and UFC veteran Antoni Hardonk) is a real lack of jiu-jitsu. This was a serious problem in one of Daley’s most prominent fights, when he was submitted by Jake Shields (23-4-1 MMA, #4 IWMMAR).
Daley also recently dropped a decision to well respected small circuit veteran Nick Thompson (38-10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) , but has posted an impressive 10-2 record since the start of 2007.All around, Daley is an improving fighter, but may be seen out of proportion, given the size and profile of his recent win, and because that win was supposed to (before Mike Swick dropped out) dictate a top contender for the UFC welterweight title). It’s doubtful, impossible even, that Daley can be seen as a serious challenger to St. Pierre, but he has definitely put himself in the position to take on a high profile fight in his second UFC bout.
The real problem is, the bout that was supposed to yield a contender for that welterweight title has left the slot vacant. The UFC can make the decision to hand that shot to Swick, but to hand a title shot to a got because he wasn’t in a fight seems like settling for mediocrity. It poses an interesting challenge to the UFC and will definitely force them to think outside of the box as to how they will want to solve that problem. Finding an opponent for Georges St. Pierre is important, and since St. Pierre really should be looking to take on an additional title defense in the next few months, something will have to be done quickly, in order to create the necessary hype for the event.
Filed Under: MMA
About the Author: Joshua Stein is a writer and editor for MMA Opinion. He has worked as a photographer and journalist and has a number of print journalism credits. He also works as a moderator for MMAForum.com and a grappling columnist (covering judo, collegiate wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling) for profighting-fans.com.