Seems that every once in a while, a match gets made in the UFC that seems like a foregone conclusion. Nothing of the severity of what one would consider a squash match (see Cyborg vs Finney), but more along the lines of a fighter simply being superior to the other (see Bisping vs Henderson). More recently, however, it seems like a similar assumption is being made about the upcoming main event of UFC 143, Condit vs Diaz. Well, at least from what I'm seeing of the current Countdown show.
Thing is, I understand why. The UFC knows that it could probably make more money off of a GSP vs Diaz title fight then it could from GSP vs Condit, but I honestly think they're going about this thing all wrong. What I wanted to take the time to do was take a look at all three men in this triangle of violence, and see whether or not the UFC is making a mistake by focusing too much on GSP possibly facing Diaz.
To start, let's talk about the one thing that has the UFC salivating when it comes to pre-fight hype: Diaz is the perfect villain. You want to know what makes a villain believable? That they believe what they're babbling about. Some guys like Josh Koscheck or Paul Daley like to talk smack because they're confident, but they're mostly playing to the crowd because they know how much fun we have with it. Diaz is different. Diaz believes that he is underpaid (he's not). Diaz believes that he shouldn't have to worry about the press (he does). Most importantly, Diaz believes that he's getting a raw deal (sorry, but no) and will not stop until he gets his way. He's immature, childish, and petulant, and that's what makes him a great villain. His rants are essentially temper tantrums, but at the same time can turn around and respect someone for doing something well. The point I'm trying to make is that he's the perfect villain because nothing about him is scripted.
What must also come as an obvious train of thought to the UFC is the fact that Diaz may as well be a polar opposite to Georges St. Pierre, who is easily the greatest welterweight fighter in history. Georges is polite, well mannered, a good example to kids, a constant professional, and a hard worker. In the cage, he is a calculating fighter that attacks his opponent's weakest area with surprising strength and skill. He's like a mix of Captain America and the Terminator, but French Canadian. A fight between he and Diaz (if I may nerd out a bit) is like Spider-Man fighting Bullseye. You couldn't have a more clear cut Hero vs Villain scenario outside of it. At the same time, are we forgetting that Carlos Condit isn't really that much different?
To be quite frank, Condit really isn't that much different than GSP outside of the octagon. He's professional, well spoken, and a genuinely nice human being. He's a hard working married man with a child, a house, and so forth. If he didn't beat people up for a living, you'd think he's just your average American guy with a few tattoos. Now, in the cage it's a different story. If GSP is a machine, then Condit is an animal. I can't really think of Condit really having a single strength, to be frank. He's one of those fighters that is just good no mater where the fight hits, but has some power in his shots. So, if he's all of these things, why is there less of a focus on Condit and Diaz clashing as people?
I think it all boils down to the UFC trying to set up a future moneymaker without realizing that they can do that without alienating one of the current challengers. With a bit more time with the Countdown show, I think that the UFC could have done a fantastic job of simply focusing on comparing both Condit and Diaz to one another, and letting the fans decide who to side with, but have small reminders that Georges St. Pierre is waiting in the wings. It's something the WWE was great with from a promotional standpoint back in the Attitude era, and I think that the UFC could have learned from that from a promotional standpoint.
As it stands, there's still two great fights to look forward to in the future. Though I think neither Condit or Diaz has a solid chance against Georges St. Pierre, they're both fighters that won't stop until they can't keep moving, and it'll make for a great viewing experience.
The Great White Hype