Rivalries: Carlos Condit

By Brian Knapp Oct 2, 2020
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Carlos Condit was one of MMA’s foremost purveyors of violence for the better part of a decade, and his most ardent followers continue to hold out hope that he can rekindle some of his past glory before he writes the final chapter of his story.

The 36-year-old Jackson-Wink MMA rep will attempt to put an end to a troubling five-fight losing streak when he meets “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 winner Court McGee in a featured UFC on ESPN 16 prelim this Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Condit has not competed since he submitted to a Michael Chiesa kimura at UFC 232 nearly two years ago. Still one of the game’s most feared finishers, he has secured 28 of his 30 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

As Condit heads toward his confrontation with McGee, a look at some of the rivalries that have numbered his steps through the years:

Nick Diaz

Condit circled out of harm’s way, stayed true to his game plan and willed his way to victory, as he captured the interim welterweight crown in a unanimous decision over Diaz in the UFC 143 headliner on February 4, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. All three judges sided with the New Mexico native: 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46. Diaz was largely unsuccessful in his approach, as he spent much of the 25-minute bout stalking and attempting to corner the former World Extreme Cagefighting champion. However, Condit leaned on his conditioning, maintained a strict adherence to strategy and never allowed the vaunted volume punching of his opponent to come into play. The “Natural Born Killer” seemed to find another gear in the third round, where he began putting leather on Diaz’s face with more regularity while mixing in thudding kicks to the leg, body and head. Unlike previous Diaz adversaries, Condit never broke from the pace. With the fight slipping out of reach, Diaz saw his last chance to finish come and go in the fifth round, as he wheeled around behind Condit, dragged him to the ground and locked him in a body triangle. From there, he hunted a rear-naked choke that would have rendered the judges’ scorecards moot, only to be denied the submission.

Georges St. Pierre

St. Pierre returned from a 19-month sabbatical to overwhelm Condit with takedowns, ground-and-pound and beautiful standing combinations, as he unified the welterweight crown with a unanimous decision in the UFC 154 main event on Nov. 17, 2012 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. “Rush” swept the scorecards by 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45 counts, showing no ill effects from the knee injury that threatened his brilliant career. St. Pierre was exceptional but not flawless, as he was forced to weather an encounter with a perfectly timed head kick from Condit in the third round. The Tristar Gym lynchpin went down, and though Condit swarmed for the finish, St. Pierre remained calm, regained his composure and ultimately cleared his head. Outside of the head kick, St. Pierre was his old dominant self. He struck for takedowns in all five rounds and sliced open his challenger with a short elbow from the top inside the first five minutes. Condit spilled blood everywhere—on himself, on the canvas and on St. Pierre. He stayed active from his back in the face of heavy fire, but his advances were turned away by a relentless champion who peeled a potential career-defining victory from his grasp.

Martin Kampmann

It was worth the wait for Condit, as the onetime WEC welterweight champion avenged an April 2009 split decision loss to Kampmann and stopped the Dane with punches and knees in the fourth round of their UFC Fight Night 27 main event on Aug. 28, 2013 at Bakers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Condit closed it out 54 seconds into Round 4. Kampmann took charge early, as he secured multiple takedowns and kept the “Natural Born Killer” bottled up through the first five minutes. However, his work came with a price. Kampmann’s pace slowed as the fight deepened, and Condit seized control once fatigue took hold. He tore into Kampmann with combinations—punches, kicks, knees and elbows—in the second round, permanently altering the complexion of the rematch. Condit hit the accelerator in the third round, where he opened up the former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder with a standing elbow and threatened him with two chokes, first with a modified guillotine and later with a rear-naked choke. The bloodied Kampmann had nothing left for Round 4. Condit let loose with all his firepower, wobbling his rival with a left hook to the head before backing him into the cage with a left hook to the body and finishing him with knees along the fence.

Robbie Lawler

Lawler and Condit gave until they could give no more. “Ruthless Robbie” retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title with a split decision over Condit in the UFC 195 headliner on Jan. 2, 2016 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Following a five-round classic that drew widespread “Fight of the Year” acclaim, all three judges scored it 48-47: Derek Cleary and Chris Lee for Lawler, Tony Weeks for Condit. The “Natural Born Killer” utilized output and diversity to keep Lawler at bay for extended chunks of time, outpacing the champion in total strikes, 177-93, and significant strikes, 176-92. Condit was by far the busier fighter, throwing 319 more strikes than his opponent. Still, it was not enough to sway the judges completely. Lawler knocked down the challenger with a stiff right hand in the second round, smashed him with a forearm shiver in the third and made his final pitch for a decision in the fifth, where he unleashed a violent burst of elbows, punches, knees and kicks. Condit stayed upright, withstood the onslaught and reached the final bell. Near exhaustion by the time they were done, the two welterweights propped themselves up against the cage, side by side, when the horn sounded. Advertisement
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