UFC welterweight ace Georges St. Pierre is embracing the challenges Carlos Condit will present at UFC 137. | Photo: Dave Mandel
As announced Wednesday by UFC President Dana White, Georges St. Pierre will no longer defend his welterweight title against Nick Diaz at UFC 137 due to Diaz’s alleged repeated absences at press conferences on consecutive days.
Instead, the longtime 170-pound ruler will lock horns with former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Carlos Condit, another lanky fighter with fast hands and solid submission skills.
Though Diaz was the reigning Strikeforce titleholder prior to his signing with the UFC, St. Pierre believes Condit will be a tougher fight when the two step into the cage on Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
“To tell the truth, I think Condit is a more dangerous opponent,” said St. Pierre, sitting alone at the UFC 137 press table on Wednesday. “He brings a much [greater] variety of attack.”
Diaz first missed a flight to appear at Tuesday's press conference in Toronto and followed the no-show with another absence at Wednesday's presser in Las Vegas. According to White, it became clear that Diaz had no plans to attend the proceedings and failed to return phone calls from the organization. Additionally, Diaz's manager, Cesar Gracie, has also been unable to locate the fighter.
Diaz finally made his whereabouts known on Wednesday evening in a video blog posted to YouTube. The welterweight asserted, perhaps futilely, that he was ready to fight, sarcastically apologizing for missing “the beauty pageant” earlier in the day.
As for Condit, the fighter now appears predictably ecstatic about the turn of events. Previously slated to face B.J. Penn on the same card, Condit has now been thrust onto an even greater stage.
“The timing was perfect for this to all come together,” Condit said in a release distributed by his management. “With me already fighting on that card, I will need to make some adjustments to get ready for a new opponent, but my actual training is still right on schedule.”
Both Condit and the WEC division over which he reigned were absorbed by the UFC in 2009. “The Natural Born Killer” stumbled in his Octagon debut in April of that year, falling by split decision in a hard-fought contest with Martin Kampmann. Since that time, Condit has not lost, edging out Jake Ellenberger to close out 2009 before overcoming a scare from surging Canadian prospect Rory MacDonald at UFC 115.
In his last two outings, Condit has looked deserving of the opportunity currently staring him in the face. After disposing of hard-hitting Brit Dan Hardy with a dynamite left hook at UFC 120, Condit fought through illness to deliver a spectacular knockout on July 2, blasting the previously unbeaten Dong Hyun Kim with a flying knee and finishing the Korean with a barrage of punches at UFC 132.
“It’s an honor to be able to fight for the championship, especially against one of the legends of our sport in Georges St.Pierre. I’ve been fighting for nearly a decade and there has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears that has gone into that,” said Condit. “A lot of sacrifices have been made both personally and professionally, and I’m looking forward to showing the UFC that I am deserving of this opportunity.”
With a new challenger now in place, St. Pierre appears ready to get back to work. Though Condit steps in on relatively short notice, the champion is not making excuses or looking to postpone the fight. According to St. Pierre, he and the UFC’s No. 1 contender are now in the same boat.
“[Short notice] is no excuse. Carlos is in the same situation as me,” said the champion. “We both found out [about the change on Wednesday], so we are in same environment. It's a fair fight. I have no problem with that.”