Midwest welterweight prospect Cameron VanCamp is less than one week away from the biggest opportunity of his professional MMA career yet: a shot at the vacant Shamrock FC welterweight title against UFC and Strikeforce veteran Bobby Voelker.
Earning a Title Shot
VanCamp (11-4-1, 1 NC) is looking for his fourth consecutive victory when he meets Voelker at Shamrock FC 317. Voelker (32-13 MMA, 8-1 SFC), who turns 40 in April, is looking for his fourth straight as well.
“I think it’s good timing,” VanCamp, who is 14 years younger than Voelker, told MMASucka. “I’m on my way up and he’s on his way out, and I think this is going to be a really good fight for myself.”
Jesse Finney, the promotion’s CEO, is known to be very selective when it comes to who the promotion gives a title shot to. Whether a fighter is homegrown talent or a UFC veteran, it typically takes awhile for them to earn a crack at the title. However, VanCamp broke that mold, as he’s earned a title shot in his Shamrock FC debut. He doesn’t take the opportunity for granted.
“I think I’m very proven in the fights that I’ve had and the level of competition that I’ve fought against,” VanCamp said. “With that being said, I’m very blessed that they did offer it to me. I’m excited to perform in the way that I know I can perform.”
Though VanCamp would be happy to add another belt to his growing collection, he said the opponent in front of him is the more significant factor.
“I think it’s less about winning the Shamrock title and more about beating a UFC vet,” he said. “I feel like for any up-and-coming fighter, that’s a big step in their career. That being said, Shamrock is a huge promotion and I have a couple of belts already, but adding that one to my collection would be huge for my career and my resume.”
VanCamp vs. Voelker
Voelker is a four-fight UFC veteran and five-fight Strikeforce veteran. He’s fought the likes of Robbie Lawler, Patrick Cote, Roger Bowling and Zak Bucia.
VanCamp enters with an impressive resume. He handed Aaron Highbaugh and Quinton Parks Jr. the first losses of their professional careers and holds victories over Bryant Whitaker and Joseph Baize. Voelker is easily the biggest name opponent he’ll have fought, though VanCamp didn’t commit to calling him his toughest test.
“He’s pretty well-rounded, he’s got a big name and it’s his hometown, so that aspect will be tough,” VanCamp said. “I think I’ve definitely fought tougher people, and I’ve fought worse people. Every fight I handle the same way, so I don’t talk the guy up too much in my own head. I wouldn’t say this is my biggest fight. This is just the fight that’s next and I’ve prepared for it just like any other fight.”
VanCamp predicts Voelker’s veteran experience will play a role. He expects Voelker to be gritty and tough to hurt. On the same token, VanCamp feels his youth will play significantly in his favor.
“With my athleticism and my youth and my skill-set, I can really push the pace and make him fight my fight,’ he said. “I’ll get it done one way or the other, and I don’t see it going the distance.”
VanCamp’s Future Plans
Should VanCamp get past Voelker and win the welterweight title, he and his management will have a decision to make. He’s on a one-fight deal with Shamrock FC and would be open to signing with them to defend the title. However, it comes down to whichever opportunity presents itself is the biggest.
“If Shamrock offers me a big name to defend my belt against, I would like to do that,” he said. “If another promotion comes up with a bigger name, I would like to do that. I want to fight the biggest and best people I can find.”
VanCamp is excited by the idea of Shamrock FC’s agreement with Bellator, where a fighter who wins and defends the SFC belt earns a multi-fight deal with Bellator. But at the end of the day, his primary goal is to be recognized as one of the best fighters in the world–wherever that means he needs to go.
“Right now, I feel like that’d be the UFC. I feel like I have the talent and the drive to be there, and I will get there.”
First, he has Voelker to get through. The two will meet on Saturday, April 6. Shamrock FC 317 goes down at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, MO, and the card will be aired live on FloCombat.