Top UFC Welterweight Carlos Condit Banking on May Return

Bradley Popkin@@bradpopkinmmaCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2015

Mar 16, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;  Carlos Condit prior to the start of the third round of his main card bout against Johny Hendricks (not pictured) at UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

One of the best welterweights in the UFC is chomping at the bit to get back in the cage. And we're not talking about a certain Canadian.

Former welterweight title challenger Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" Condit took in the action last Saturday night at UFC 183. Condit, who has been on the shelf for nine months nursing torn ligaments in his right knee, revealed to reporters in a post-show scrum what kind of timetable has been placed on his return, per SB Nation's Anton Tabuena.

"I don't have a fight booked, but I already have a target date. I want to get into the card in May here in Vegas. I don't think the headliner has been announced, but that's my timeline," said Condit.

The 30-year-old suffered tears of the ACL and MCL in his right knee against former Strikeforce star Tyron "The Chosen One" Woodley in March at UFC 171. The Natural Born Killer has gone 1-3 in his last four fights, all losses coming against top competition, including his second-round TKO loss to The Chosen One.

This wouldn't be Condit's first brush with injury. He did pull out of bouts against Paul Daley and Chris Lytle earlier in his Octagon career.

However, neither of those injuries was as serious as the one suffered against Woodley, which is why Condit focused on the matter at hand during recovery.

"If I looked at the mountain I had to climb, it was overwhelming. Just focusing on the day-to-day things is what I really had to keep my mind on," said Condit.

Since his injury, the Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter hasn't lost any ground in the top-heavy 170-pound division. 

"It's exciting [the welterweight division]. I think that the belt might change hands quite a bit in a year or so," said Condit. 

Condit doesn't have a particular matchup in mind for his return fight, though he did mention a rematch with Woodley and a particular Canadian.

"Rory [MacDonald] looks really good. His last few fights have been pretty much flawless," remarked Condit. "He's super polished. His strategy and poise have improved."

MacDonald is ranked No. 2 behind former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. The 25-year-old was also finished by Condit at UFC 115 in June 2010.

Over the last four years or so, "The Canadian Psycho" has decorated his mixed martial arts resume with nine wins over a suite of 170-pound contenders. A rematch between the No.4-ranked Condit and MacDonald isn't out of the question. 

A win over MacDonald would put him right back in the mix of potential title contenders at welterweight. A third-straight loss would send him spiraling out of the Top 5. 

Rematches, though, are fights that Condit flourishes in. In August 2013, he finished Martin Kampmann via fourth-round TKO. 

Condit and Kampmann initially squared off in April 2009, with "The Hitman" tallying a controversial split decision. The former WEC welterweight champion must weigh the risk of taking an elite test, versus one with a lesser opponent, in his return fight.

Condit's skills haven't diminished but they might have peaked. The Natural Born Killer has been one of the most fearsome strikers in the 170-pound for the last several years. 

His style has won him quite a few fights against notable strikers in Nick Diaz, Dong Hyun Kim and Dan Hardy.

However, in order to effectively implement his stand-up skills, Condit must improve his takedown defense. He defends a rather abysmal 39 percent of them.

That number also includes the 25 takedowns Condit yielded to prolific wrestlers Georges St-Pierre, Hendricks, MacDonald and Woodley.

Fact is, Condit has been awarded six performance bonuses in his near six-year Octagon tenure. His elaborate striking style, though, has failed him against the premier wrestlers in his division.

Before his freak injury, The Natural Born Killer looked to be on his way to another exciting loss against the all-american collegiate wrestler Woodley, having surrendered multiple takedowns.

If Condit is looking for a rematch come the spring, his return may not be a successful one. 

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