It's no secret Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contenders Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks used to train together over in the house Randy Couture built, Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sharing mat time for two years, the two scrappy fighters helped sharpen each other's blades, so, it's safe to say they know each other's weaknesses, as well. That information will come in very handy when the two former training partners meet inside the Octagon on Nov. 17, 2012 at UFC 154 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to determine who will be the next recipient of a shot at the 170-pound title.
As Hendricks tells ESPN, he knows just how ‘tough' and ‘durable' the 'Hitman' can be, but, he also feels the Dane striker has reached his peak:
"Kampmann's at his peak. When we trained together, he already knew everything about striking; he was already in the UFC fighting at 185. He's added a few things, but not much. Once you hit your peak, it's hard to add new stuff. But he is durable and he is tough. I was there with him when he started cutting down to 170; I've known this guy for a while. For him to sit there and say that I haven't developed is just nonsense. I'm not the fighter I was two years ago or a year ago; I'm so much more advanced."
Though the former NCAA Division-1 wrestling champion is known for his outstanding grappling and improved striking (See Jon Fitch bout at UFC 141), "Bigg Rigg" wants to show the world his submission game is up to snuff, too, and declares he is far from reaching his peak:
"I go to New York City and train with [Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt] Marcelo Garcia after every fight, and sometimes during training camp. My jiu-jitsu is actually better than my stand-up. It's just that so far I haven't had the opportunity to show it. I want to show more of my [grappling] game, so that people know that I'm more than just a wrestler. I have a strong ground game and feel more comfortable with it. I'm improving constantly. I'm constantly learning all aspects. I haven't hit my peak yet."
Kampmann declares training for Johny has been easy due to the familiarity and is prepared to submit him, but says he would love nothing more than a knockout victory over his former stablemate.
The time for words will soon be at an end and both Hendricks and Kampmann will undoubtedly be highly motivated to outdo the other in Canada and show both have improved since their shared training days.
Who is your final pick to come out on top in this pivotal welterweight clash?