(I've recently been added on to the crew over at cage pages to do some editorial work. This was originally posted over there, and its my first work for them. You guys should come check us out. We have a nice mix of writers and some good content. You can find the original piece here. Oh yeah, Neil Manich is my real name.)
Carlos Condit is not the best welterweight in the world. He’s not a freak athletic specimen. He’s not a wrecking machine. Despite what the infallible Tale of the Tape may have led you to believe, Carlos Condit isn’t even a "natural born killer." Since joining the UFC Condit has not ran through his competition. He does not have a collection of top ten ranked fighters pelts on his wall. He is a skinny punk with substandard wrestling, doomed to never truly crack into the elite. Carlos Condit is mangy.
Mangy isn’t really a word most elite athletes would want attached to them, but its what makes Carlos Condit my favorite fighter. Before every fight he doesn’t so much walk from backstage into the grasp of the blaring arena lights as the darkness backstage excretes him into the ring. He then contorts his already focused face (a face that is so permanently bruised I’ve begun to suspect they are tattoos) into that scrunched up infant devouring scowl. Then comes the violence.
Oh yes is there violence. And not in the There Will be Blood there’s a little bit of violence at the end way. It is violence in the most brutal way imaginable. No fighter fights with the same reckless abandon that Condit does. There is almost a desperation to it, like Condit’s life would somehow be harmed if he didn’t try to break your hand by head-butting your closed fists. If biting were allowed under the unified rules, there would be no doubt in my mind that Carlos Condit would be the single best pound for pound fighter in the world.
That’s not to say Condit isn’t technical. Condit’s split decision loss to Martin Kampmann (a fight that should have both been scored as a draw and shown in schools) was a great technical performance by both fighters, with the exception of striking defense of course. Condit has an incredibly dangerous and active guard, and crisp and powerful striking. This weekend he out left hooked a Dan Hardy that rode that punch straight to an undeserved title fight. This is where the Chris Lytle comparisons fall short. Carlos Condit is not simply a brawler, he is a top tier fighter with sound technique.
But its only when that technique is paired with that vicious fighter spirit does Condit become something truly special. What other fighter in the division would have been able to comeback and nearly force Rory MacDonald’s head between the threads of the canvas with his elbow. Carlos Condit seems like the kind of guy that would gnaw his own arm off just so he could beat you to death with it. Simply put, Carlos Condit was born to fight.
And isn’t that enough? Best case scenario, Condit is one to two fights away from a title shot, and he has absolutely nothing for Georges St Pierre. That’s not even to mention the kind of wrestling clinic Jon Fitch or Josh Koscheck would be able to run on him in front of everybody. And if he were matched up against a striker of Thiago Alves’ caliber, would he be able to take him down? And how long could he really stand and trade with him? Carlos Condit will never be champion.
And really, that’s for the best. You don’t watch Carlos Condit fight to better understand the UFC’s welterweight rankings. Nor do you watch Condit to see which combination of fighting styles would be the most effective under the unified rules. You watch Condit fight because you want to see a fucking fight, and Condit has consistently delivered pure unadulterated violence. That’s why I can sit here and dream that one day somehow Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz will get to fight, and I won’t have to worry whether or not either of them can stop a takedown.
Please nobody tell Condit I called him mangy.