Earlier today, UFC President Dana White tweeted that UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will be out of action for up to 10 months with a torn ACL, forcing him out of a planned championship bout against former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nick Diaz at UFC 143.
Replacing this fight will be an interim title bout, as Diaz will now face former WEC Welterweight champion Carlos Condit on the Feb. 4 card.
Both Diaz and Condit missed out on a title shot at UFC 137. Diaz was originally slated to face St. Pierre, but after missing media appearances, White decided to give Condit the title bout. However, St. Pierre suffered an injury to his knee, scrapping the championship bout entirely.
As both men finally get a chance to fight for UFC gold, here is the head-to-toe breakdown of this interim title bout.
In terms of pure boxing skills, Diaz has the huge advantage.
The former Strikeforce champion has faced many of the sport's premier punchers, dominating them in their own game. Against Penn at UFC 137, Diaz out struck the former two-time UFC champion en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Diaz's unorthodox punching style has served him well inside the cage as his looping hook has become a signature move of the former champion.
Condit is a solid boxer as well, having vicious knocked out Dan Hardy with a left hook at UFC 120, but Diaz's boxing is on another level.
In terms of overall kickboxing, Condit brings a more diverse striking background than Diaz.
Where Diaz prefers punching with a few kicks sprinkled in, Condit is the more well-rounded striker that can defeat his opponents in a variety of ways.
Against Rory MacDonald at UFC 115, Condit battled back to finish the young Canadian via technical knockout with vicious elbows and punches.
His most spectacular victory while with the UFC came earlier this year at UFC 132. Facing Dong Hyun Kim, Condit caught the Korean welterweight with a flying knee, knocking him out in the first round. The finish earned Condit Knockout of the Night honors for the second time.
Diaz possess more than punches in his arsenal, but his kickboxing on its own has been exposed as a weakness in his game. Against Evangelista Santos in January, Diaz was getting decimated by Santos' vicious leg kicks for two rounds. Luckily, Diaz was able to work his ground game and finished the fight via armbar submission.
Because of Condit's wider array of strikes, he takes the slight edge.
A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Cesar Gracie, Diaz has an accomplished grappling background.
Diaz has a great guard and works well off his back, often able to control the fight from this usually less dominant position before working a submission.
Condit has a solid grappling base as well, solidifying his ground game under the famed Greg Jackson.
However, as only a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and showing a weakness at times to the take down, Diaz takes the advantage.
Both fighters have proven themselves as savy submission artists over their careers.
Diaz is a huge threat on the ground with eight career submissions wins. His tricky guard and arsenal of techniques has finished guys like Santos, Hayato Sakurai, Scott Smith and Takanori Gomi (although this win was eventually ruled a no decision).
Surprisingly, Condit has 13 submission wins to his credit and has shown that he can hold his own on the ground. Four of his five WEC victories came via tap out, helping him win the welterweight title.
Diaz and Condit are evenly matched in the submission department, making the fight very interesting if they go to the ground.
Diaz is a beast when it comes to conditioning, never tiring even when getting into all out wars.
Having gone the distance in significantly more fights than Condit, who has only gone to a decision three times in his career, Diaz has a huge advantage here.
Also, he does triathlons when he's not fighting, so there's a very slim chance of Diaz gassing.
Diaz and Condit are two of the most experienced fighters in the welterweight division, if not the whole UFC.
Both fighters began their careers in the early 2000s and have a little over 30 fights to their credit.
Diaz has an edge on the international scene, having fought all over the world and garnering numerous championships.
One could make the case that Diaz has faced better competition over the years, but within the UFC, Diaz has not had much success against them until his recent win against Penn.
Condit has only lost once under the Zuffa banner and has beaten some of the best in the UFC's welterweight division.
Diaz: He may not be facing St. Pierre, but Diaz will finally get a shot at UFC gold, albeit an interim title. It will be interesting to see if the pressure gets to him once again and if he can handle the media, although it will be toned down.
Another factor in this fight will be Diaz's cockiness. Against Penn, he toned down the antics in the cage out of respect for the legend and was able to dominate the fight. Will the old Diaz come out once again against Condit? If he does, he better be careful as Condit is a tough opponent and proven finisher.
Condit: Disappointed in being passed over after a promised title shot at UFC 137, Condit will also finally get the chance to fight for the title.
Having not fought since July with inconsistent camps due to constantly changing opponents and fights being canceled, it will be interesting to see how prepared Condit will be for this bout. With a little less than two months until UFC 143, he should have plenty of time to get prepared for Diaz.
This interim title bout will definitely be an exciting matchup, as both Diaz and Condit are proven finishers.
Condit has never been knocked out and should be able to hold his own against Diaz in the stand-up department.
The fight will be most intriguing if it finds its way to the ground. Diaz has an edge in the grappling department and may be able to submit Condit, who has only been finished by submission.
If Diaz can take the fight to the mat, he has the best chance of coming away with the belt.
Prediction: Diaz via submission (fourth round).