Even though MMA may not have the most developed amateur system, there are still many fighters out there plying their trade in the ranks. In 2009 a handful of amateur fighters received some mainstream attention through the Las Vegas based Tuff-N-Uff promotion. However, on the other side of the country Thomas Campbell put together a solid run, and earned himself the title of the ProMMA.info Amateur Fighter of 2009.
Campbell, a 23-year-old featherweight, began fighting two years ago. After a few fights, the native of Clarksville, Tenn. began training with Ron Daley at SSF Submission Academy. In 2009 Campbell went 10-1 to run his overall amateur record to 16-2.
The highlight of his year was winning an eight-man HookNShoot tournament. On that night, Campbell defeated three opponents to take the crown.
After defeating both Justin Maikranz and Justin Ford by decision, he entered the tournament final against a familiar foe. Marcus Chandler had previously defeated Campbell’s teammate Steven Durr. Despite having already fought six full rounds, Campbell was able to force Chandler to tap with an arm-in guillotine choke with less than 10 seconds left in the first round.
In addition to the HookNShoot championship, Campbell also currently holds the SSF Invitational Championship and Kentucky Fighting Challenge Championship titles.
Campbell remains grateful to his coaches. He credits Brazilian jiu-jitsu coaches Brian Marvin and Nick Cascaddan for helping him avoid Ford’s dangerous submissions. As for SSF Submission Academy as a whole, Campbell said, “[the academy] has really opened my game up and has turned me into a well-rounded fighter.”
Like all amateur fighters, Campbell has dreams of becoming a professional. He plans on making the jump in 2010. The fighter told ProMMA.info, “I plan on turning pro this year around May. A Couple of things I’m trying to do before then is finish my amateur career with 20 wins, get promoted in BJJ, and gain a couple more sponsors.”
Be sure to check out the rest of the awards
ProMMA.info Breakthrough Fighter of 2009: Muhammed Lawal
ProMMA.info Disappointment of 2009: Josh Barnett
ProMMA.info Submission of 2009: Toby Imada’s Inverted Triangle Choke
ProMMA.info Female Fighter of 2009: “Cyborg” Santos
ProMMA.info Comeback Fighter of 2009: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
ProMMA.info Robbery of 2009: Beebe vs. Easton Decision
ProMMA.info Knockout of 2009: Fedor over Arlovski
ProMMA.info Fighter of 2009: Jose Aldo
ProMMA.info Card of 2009: UFC 100
More coming soon!