This weekend, welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre gets to pop Vicodin while hobbling to his kitchen to fetch another tub of poutine-flavored ice cream, all for the sake of his torn anterior cruciate ligament that is allegedly on the mend. Meanwhile, at UFC 143, Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit will be stepping into the Octagon to duke it out for an interim welterweight belt. Now, no one dares suggest that Diaz isn’t a viable contender for the 170-pound title – the dude was a dominant champ in Strikeforce, and his return to the UFC had him reshaping BJ Penn’s mug like it was made of Play-Doh. But Condit… what has he done for us lately? What makes him worthy? Heh. Please allow me to drop some knowledge on you, “Natural Born Killer” style.
-Condit has only lost once in the UFC, and that was via a razor-thin split decision to Martin Kampmann at a UFC Fight Night back in 2009 – which was Condit’s UFC debut. Since then, he’s decisioned Jake Ellenberger, and put away the likes of Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy and Dong Hyun Kim. All of those finishes were explosive, with two resulting in “Knockout of the Night” bonuses and one a “Fight of the Night” bonus. If the bosses throw you extra cheddar, you must be doing your job very right.
-Prior to his current run in the UFC, Condit was the lord and master of the WEC’s welterweight division. And his championship defenses weren’t really close. It took him four rounds to put away Hiromitsu Miura, but Carlo Prater and Brock Larson fell within the first round, while John Alessio tapped out in the second. That’s some dominance right there.
-Condit has been at the game since 2002, clocking in thirty-two bouts, with twenty-seven of them resulting in wins for him. He’s certainly got experience.
-Despite all sorts of King of the Cage and Pancrase experience, the first time Condit really made himself known as a high-level badass was when he competed in the Rumble on the Rock welterweight tournament, circa 2006. His quarterfinal opponent was Renato Verissimo, who was a UFC vet and the jiu-jitsu instructor of BJ Penn; Condit wrecked him in seventeen seconds, which was a huge shock. Then came his semifinal matchup against Frank Trigg, which, again, everyone expected Condit to lose. But after Condit subbed him in about a minute and a half, suddenly the lanky kid from Albuquerque was a force to be reckoned with. Condit went on to lose the decision to Jake Shields in the ROTR tournament finals, but he was for sure the man after that.
-What does Condit bring to the table in his bout against Diaz? Well, in my humble opinion, the odds favor the jiu-jitsu black belt with insane boxing skills who cleaned out Strikeforce. But Condit has the tools to beat him, he’s got the explosiveness, and he’s definitely got the mettle to eat plenty of Diaz jabs and keep coming. Most of all, though, is Condit can keep it exciting without getting killed. Yeah, he’s definitely worthy of a shot at the interim belt.