UFC Welterweight Carlos Condit is no stranger to high profile fights. Throughout his nine year career, the man known as “The Natural Born Killer,” has faced some of the top fighters in the world while making his way around the globe.
The New Mexico native began his career in September of 2002 fighting in Juarez, Mexico. From there he fought in Oklahoma before making his way back home and fighting in New Mexico. Colorado, Japan, Hawaii, California, Las Vegas, Canada and England have all seen him in action.
While fighting for the Rumble on the Rock organization in Honolulu, Condit met up with some of the sports best fighters. He faced Frank Trigg, Jake Shields & Pat Healy consecutively. The Healy fight was under the Extreme wars promotion in Oakland, CA.
He would take three fights in Japan before he finally settled in and found a home with the WEC. In just his second fight for the organization he defeated John Alessio for the vacant WEC Welterweight Championship. He would defend it twice against Carlo Prater and Hiromitsu Miura with a catchweight bout against Brock Larson thrown in between.
The UFC decided to merge the welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight divisions of the WEC with their own and Condit didn’t waste anytime getting acclimated to the Octagon. His first fight with Martin Kampmann was a barn-burner, but resulted in a split decision loss for Condit which broke his 8 fight winning streak.
He has rattled off four straight wins against Jake Ellenberger, Dan Hardy, Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald. He was awarded a Fight of the Night against MacDonald and Knockout of the Night against Kim and Hardy. He was also awarded with a fight against BJ Penn at UFC 137, the co-main event just before the George St. Pierre-Nick Diaz UFC Welterweight Title fight.
As luck would have it, Diaz lost his shot against GSP because he missed some pre-fight promotional press conferences. Dana White and crew decided to insert Condit in Diaz’s place and give him a shot at becoming the only man to hold both the WEC & UFC Welterweight Championship. Going from Penn to GSP will make you have to change your game plan drastically, but that doesn’t bother Condit in the least.
“Actually there wasn’t that big of a change as we expected BJ to try and take me down and utilize his ground skills,” Condit told Bleacher Report. “We had been practicing my take-down defense and Jiu-Jitsu. The biggest difference with fighting Georges is we are now training for a five wound fight, so the strength and conditioning part of my game has been a huge focus for us.
In the past GSP has been able to out wrestle guys who are a lot bigger than I am so we are putting our time in to improve my take-down defense. I am expecting to be taken down and anticipating that’s something we are going to have to deal with. We are trying to formulate a different type of game plan and hopefully causing a lot of problems for him.”
Any fighter worth their salt is in this sport not only for the competition, but to fight the best and be the best. That means working your way up the ladder and competing for championships. I always wanted to know what it was like when a fighter first got the call informing them of the opportunity.
“When I got the call to fight GSP I was at a meal in between training sessions,” said Condit. “It was a pretty emotional moment for me.”
Condit trains full time with Team Jackson in New Mexico, but his head coach Greg Jackson has been an advisor and in the corner for GSP for some time now. We all saw what happened when former Jon Jones decided he would face teammate Rashad Evans. One has to wonder how Jackson will handle this situation and how each fighter will handle his decision.
“Greg made the decision that he would step back,” offered Condit. “I am still training with a lot of the same guys. This time around I have Chris Lutrell heading up my training camp. He is one of the founding members of Team Jackson. I feel like I’m in good hands, but this is a business and I know after the fight we’ll be a big happy family again.”
Some fighters will put in countless hours pouring over videotapes of their opponents previous fights. Then you have fighters who will watch very little tape, but rely on their coaches to study their opponents and come up with the best plan to help them win. Condit puts a lot of faith in his coaches and has yet to be let down.
“I will watch some tapes to an extent,” Condit replied. “Mostly my trainers will watch the tapes, I will watch a little bit, but they watch a lot more than I do. I try and concentrate on what I do best. I do pick up a little bit from the videos, but I find it’s better to work on my skills and making myself better.”
GSP has been heavily criticized for not finishing his opponents in his last four fights. He fought Dan Hardy and couldn’t stop him, yet you knocked him out on the first round when you met at UFC 120. At UFC 129 GSP couldn’t put Jake Shields away, yet Jake Ellenberger knocked Shields out in just 53 seconds. Is Condit worried that GSP will play it safe again and does he feel as he is being too cautious?
“We’ll see which Georges shows up,” Condit said. “He has had a lot of fights where he goes out there and dominates guys, actually throws down. We haven’t seen that from him in awhile. I know he’s been given a lot of criticism for being too cautious, we’ll see if he comes in and tries to change things up. We will be prepared for whatever he brings either way.”
Condit was Ellenberger’s first opponent in the UFC and narrowly escaped with a split decision victory. Since then Ellenberger has won five fights in a row including the win over Shields. Some people believe Ellenberger is a serious contender and others feel as though his win over Shields is hard to gauge due to the death of Shields father just three weeks prior to the fight
“What Shields went through is a really tough situation,” Condit explained. “His dad was instrumental in his career just as mine has been a big part of my career. I don’t even want to think about that scenario, I have a lot of respect for Shields for going through with that fight.
Ellenberger seems to be improving, he works a lot on his ground game which was one area I was able to capitalize and helped me take over the fight. I would definitely fight Jake again. He is an awesome fighter and has become one of the best welterweights in the world. I want to continue to fight the best fighters so I would definitely fight him.”
With the tear that Condit has been on, especially when he has collected bonus checks in his last three fights, he has every right to be confident heading into his matchup with GSP. Is there a fourth straight bonus check in his future and if so, which one will it be?
“I am going to go with Fight of the Night,” said Condit. “I intend on winning this fight and I believe I can finish Georges. That’s my position going into the cage, but I also know he is not going to go down easily, then again neither am I. I definitely feel we will get Fight of the Night.”
Condit lets his fights do the talking for him. He usually remains quiet and tries to stay away from any controversy. There are a lot of Carlos Condit fans out there and I am sure they would like to know a little bit more about the man who could be the next UFC Welterweight Champion.
“I like to cook a lot,” Condit said amusingly. “It’s kind of one of my hobbies and it helps me keep an eye on my nutrition as well. It’s something I really enjoy and it helps me blow off some steam by making a big meal for the family. “
With an 18 month old son at home, Condit has to deal with the rigors of training full time and spending enough time with his family. Some fighters have had a tough time incorporating the two aspects of their life together. For Condit, it’s his family that allows him to do what he does and be so successful.
“I draw a lot of strength and motivation from my family,” Condit said excitedly. “I think it would be too hard for me to be away from my son and my wife during training camps. It’s not always easy; I have an 18 month old running around causing havoc. For the most part it’s awesome and I really enjoy being a father. I love training everyday and I am really enjoying this journey.”
I asked Condit to play word association. I gave him three names and asked him to describe each fighter in a few short words. Here is what we came up with when I asked him about GSP, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz.
“GSP, I am going to go with a great champion,” Condit offered. “BJ Penn is a great warrior. Nick Diaz is a great fighter who needs to work on his professionalism.”
Most of you know by now, this fight has been canceled for the time being due to a knee injury suffered by GSP last week. Below is a statement from Condit.
“I am greatly disappointed, for both myself and UFC fans, that I will no longer be fighting for the Welterweight title at UFC 137, but I also understand that injuries are a part of this business.
As a professional fighter, it is my job to be prepared for any and all circumstances, positive and negative, that come my way during training and the actual fight. Georges is a great competitor and I know that he will want to return to 100 percent health as soon as possible so that this fight can be rescheduled.
This is the best training camp I have ever had, and I look forward to carrying over the growth that I’ve experienced in this camp to my next one.
I have trained for over a decade in mixed martial arts with the clear goal of becoming the best fighter in the world at my weight class. I have worked this long to become the UFC Welterweight Champion. I will work a little longer.”
A statement from Malki Kawa/First Round Management
“Carlos Condit is the top contender in the UFC’s Welterweight division, and as such, the most logical decision for him is to be ready for the title shot he has earned against Georges St-Pierre as soon as St-Pierre is fully recovered.
While it is disappointing that he will not fight on the UFC 137 card, it is my hope that fans understand that this is the best matchup at this weight class. Carlos is hungry for the title shot and when this fight is rescheduled, he will be ready to show the world what made him the top contender.”