Carlos Condit considered calling it a career following a heartbreaking loss to Robbie Lawler at the beginning of the year. Now it appears that he may be even closer to hanging up his four-ounce gloves for good.
One bout removed from very nearly claiming welterweight gold, Condit returned to the Octagon at UFC on Fox 21 in Vancouver on Saturday night with a chance to jump right back into the welterweight title picture. However, the evening did not go as planned, as “The Natural Born Killer” was overwhelmed by the grappling of Demian Maia and tapped to a rear-naked choke 1:52 into the first round of their main event clash.
“He’s obviously a super, super high level jiu-jitsu practitioner. He hit me with a shot from half guard that rattled me and I guess I didn’t really expect that,” Condit said. “After that he started moving to mount and I gave up my back because I didn’t want to get hit. I was kind of rocked from that shot. He puts together his passing with his striking very well, and that’s why he’s as good as he is.”
Known for his entertaining style in victory and defeat, Condit managed to land only one significant strike before succumbing to Maia. It was a far cry from his previous outing against Lawler — a bout many thought he won and is one of the frontrunners for “Fight of the Year” for 2016. The defeat has forced Condit to make an honest assessment of where he stands in the UFC, although his perspective probably doesn’t align with the general consensus.
“I don’t know if I have any business fighting at this level any more,” he said. “I’ve been at this for a really long time. The pressure of kind of being one of the top guys for almost a decade…it’s been awesome. I’ve loved being involved in the sport at the time that I have. I’ve gotten to do what I love for a living for a long period of time. I don’t know if I belong here anymore. We’ll see.”
The Jackson-Wink MMA standout has tasted victory just twice in his last seven outings, but four of those setbacks have come against men who either were holding the 170-pound title or had held it at some point. The other, Maia, might be next in line for a championship opportunity.
Still, the notion of retirement is not a new development for the New Mexico native, who turned 32 earlier this year. If there is something that could keep him going, it’s his competitive spirit, which is still quite strong.
“Honestly it’s definitely been in the back of my mind for a while now. It’s been a long career and I think there comes a point in every fighter’s career that they have to question how long they’re going to continue to do that,” Condit said. “And I’ve been doing that for a while. It wasn’t my night tonight.
“I don’t know if that’s going to be the swan song for me. Hopefully not. I would hate to go out on a loss like this. I would have at least like to have got in there and put on an exciting show like I usually do. But I don’t know what’s in the cards. I’m leaning towards probably, possibly being done.”
Condit has been fighting professionally since he was a teenager. Over the course of 40 documented fights, there have been plenty of wars that left both Condit and his opponent bloodied and battered. He has never been knocked out (his lone TKO loss to Tyron Woodley was the result of a knee injury), which is a credit a reliable chin. At some point, however, that durability fades, and Condit, a noted family man, doesn’t seem to want to be around when that moment arrives.
“Some aspects I definitely am passionate about. I love the preparation. I trained really hard for this camp,” he said. “I’ve had a long career with a lot of fights, and I’ve taken a lot of punishment.
“I don’t know if I can continue to take shots, honestly.”