On November 17, Carlos Condit will be stepping into enemy territory in Montreal to face Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title.
Both fighters have received their fair shares of criticism—Condit for implementing a predominantly defensive game plan against Nick Diaz and for choosing to wait to fight GSP, and GSP for his history of fights ending by decision (five of last six) and his long layoff (last fought on April 30, 2011).
The criticism directed toward Condit is a bit unfair.
Against Nick Diaz, he stuck to the game plan that he felt gave him the best shot to win. The FightMetric report shows that he out-struck Diaz in both total strikes and significant strikes.
He didn't fight the most fan-friendly fight, but it's not as though the judges handed him the victory. He won the fight.
Most of the criticism directed towards him stem from this one fight. If you look at his record, you'll see that he's gone to decision an absurd four times in 33 fights.
His nickname is "The Natural Born Killer," and for good reason.
GSP is the obvious favorite, as the defending champion. He is a great all-around fighter with superb conditioning. The questions surrounding him are how he will respond after so much time away from the cage and how his injuries have healed.
St-Pierre is criticized for not taking many risks in his fights. Now this is pure speculation, but perhaps this stems from UFC 69, where huge underdog Matt Serra stopped him in the first round by TKO. Maybe GSP took him lightly or found himself to be a little careless.
Regardless of the reason, St-Pierre has cruised through all of his opponents since. Why take needless risks when you have everything to lose? He wins decisively, though not spectacularly.
Who do you think will win at UFC 154?
Condit is a much different fighter than those that GSP has faced recently. Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch and Jake Shields are primarily grapplers, though of that bunch Koscheck poses a legitimate threat on the feet.
Dan Hardy and Thiago Alves are the strikers GSP has faced, and since losing to him, they have both hit major rough patches in their careers.
I feel that St-Pierre hasn't really been challenged in quite a while. However, it may be a case of him clearing out the division and making his opponents look bad.
Condit is a very dangerous fighter, though the key for him will be his striking game. He is comfortable in all areas and will seize an opportunity when it presents itself.
Just to show you how well-rounded Condit is, he has 13 wins by KO/TKO and 13 by submission. He has lost only once in his last 14 fights (a split decision to top contender Martin Kampmann in 2009) and seems to have really found his stride.
Condit definitely has a shot, and it is a better one than any of GSP's opponents have had in a long time.