Kitt “The Killer” Campbell might be just one win away from getting the call that every professional mixed martial artist hopes for.
Campbell (8-2), who won the Hex Welterweight Championship in July last year, is looking to gain entry into a “bigger promotion.” So, as we approach his first title defense at Hex Fight Series 13 on March 23, the stakes are higher than ever for the 23-year-old welterweight.
It’s quite the trajectory for someone who “fell into” the sport.
Creating “The Killer”
Fighting has been a way of life for the Australian for as long as he can remember.
As a teenager, Campbell competed at a national level for judo and wrestling. He also had a keen interest in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing, as well.
But after experiencing many of the different elements of mixed martial arts, and the unavoidable street fights that occur on Phillip Island, Campbell had never considered blending all of his skills until 2013.
“I somehow just fell into MMA. I started training different areas and then I decided to jump straight in and have my first professional fight on BRACE. I got the knockout in 52 seconds and after that I haven’t looked back.”
Of course, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Campbell, who skipped straight past an amateur career and jumped into the cage as a professional middleweight. Campbell was defeated by current UFC fighter Rob Wilkinson in May 2014. At the time, Wilkinson was undefeated after five fights and Campbell had only competed once. Campbell would also later lose a split decision to Stu Dare in September 2015.
However, it was these two contests that created the “The Killer” in Kitt Campbell as he has since been undefeated since dropping to the welterweight division.
After picking up three consecutive first-round knockout victories, Campbell was awarded a shot at John Vake and the Hex Welterweight Championship.
“It was a tough fight against John Vake,” Campbell explained.
“He stood toe-to-toe with me for the full five rounds. I was throwing everything I had at him, but he stood there and took it. At the end of the five rounds, it felt rewarding because it was stretched out over 25 minutes. To get that win, it was a rewarding feeling.”
Although his streak of first-round finishes came to an end, the outcome was only positive for the Australian.
“Obviously a knockout or a submission or whatever is better, but at this stage of my career going the five rounds was the best thing for me.”
The top welterweight in Australia
Up next is a tough fight with Matt Vaile (9-1) at Hex Fight Series 13 that Campbell believes will solidify who is the top welterweight in Australia.
“It’s the biggest fight of my career,” Campbell described.
“I’ve fought a lot of tough guys before. I’ve fought plenty of people with more experience than me, but this is the biggest fight to date because I’m defending my title. There’s a lot at stake here. The winner will obviously get scouted out by bigger promotions because it will solidify who is the #1 in Australia.”
After beginning his career as polished grappler – thanks to his extensive judo and wrestling experience – Campbell has soon developed a multi-faceted game. As for this weekend, Campbell believes that it will be his explosiveness that surprises Vaile.
“I don’t think he has fought someone as explosive and as quick as me. He hasn’t fought anyone like me. He’s fought top guys before, but they always drop their balls when they fight him. I’m not going to drop my balls against him. He’s going to be fighting someone who is there for a reason and wants to defend their title.”
Unveiling bigger opportunities
For Campbell, this weekend represents much more than just his first title defense. With scouts already watching the Australian welterweight, Campbell is hoping that he can get the call-up following a dominant performance against Vaile.
“If I do it in style, knock him out or get the win in good fashion I hope to get the call-up after that. I’m happy to keep on fighting and keep on winning, and hopefully get that call-up. It doesn’t have to be the UFC, it can be anyone – a bigger promotion worldwide.”
With a win this weekend, Kitt “The Killer” Campbell will certainly be one step closer to getting that sought-after call.