"I firmly believe that a man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all, is the moment in which he has worked his heart out for all he holds dear, and lies exhausted on the field of battle"
I began posting here on bloodyelbow.com a couple years ago, and while my contributions are few and far between, it's never more than a couple hours before I always find myself back on the site, always on the search for everything MMA related- whether it be news, technique, or industry analysis. Although there are other sites I frequent (mostly middleeasy.com), time and time again the quality of discussion by members and pseudo relationships I've built with such members I've never even met is what brings me back.
In combat sports, as well as life, it's up to us to find inspiration in daily things to motivate us and keep us (at least) one step ahead of the competition. In the vast arena that is life, the competition is thick, and in most cases there are not weight classes to level the playing field. For me, my inspiration comes from watching other athletes overcome adversity and overwhelming odds to still find success. One of many whom I enjoy studying above most others will be stepping into the cage this weekend.
While the rest of the American world gets ready for the Super Bowl, all of us here know what the real show is this weekend. Diaz vs. Condit, The Natural Born Killer vs. Mr. 209, Champion vs. Champion- however you want to bill it, if you are not excited for this fight you might want to check your pulse immediately. Even more so, if you have watched even so much as one Nick Diaz fight / interview and you claim to not be at least intrigued, you're full of shit.
Regarding the matchup, Luke Thomas sums it up perfectly:
There are a number of ways to parse the fight's merits or evaluate its worthiness, but it'd be criminal to not note just how much gameness defines this bout's character. Every fighter has biological limits, but Diaz and Condit are two fighters who are nearly peerless when it comes to competing up to the outer limit of those boundaries.
Numerous examples of their durability abound. Against Rory MacDonald, Condit was able to withstand a torrential downpour of ground and pound only to stop the rising prospect in the third round. Against Paul Daley, Diaz was floored on more than one occasion in a chaotic see-saw battle only to stop the Brit with strikes late in the first. Condit was floored with gargantuan punches early by Jake Ellenberger, but hung on and eventually took a decision. Diaz was getting drilled by hard punches from Takanori Gomi before driving the Japanese sensation back with strikes, ultimately submitting him with a spectacular gogo plata. The list of their gameness accolades is nearly endless.
I don't want to suggest gameness is the only reason this fight is special. There's obviously more to the story. But the level of gameness both fighters exhibit is extraordinary because they also possess deep experience and technical acumen. Neither fighter is careless, but neither fighter lets caution lord over them. That's unique. Over time as fighters gain experience and add skills, you'll often see a trade off in ferocity. With Diaz and Condit, however, you just see the ferocity more expertly channeled.
The Diaz brothers, while for too long not quite getting the recognition they deserve, have been on a search and destroy mission lately, and in my opinion are well on their way to becoming the lightweight and welterweight champions of the world. One must keep in mind that these guys are coming from the same camp that under the tutelage of Cesar Gracie housed the lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight Strikeforce champions all at once. Say what you want about the strength of competition they faced, but in my mind there has yet to be a squad to accomplish such a feat.
If this all reeks of bias, that's probably because it is. That's not to say I'm not a fan of Carlos Condit, just as I was of both Donald Cerrone and BJ Penn. It's just that it is hard to see the fight going in any other way than Nick's way. Many people, some of whom fight and some don't, find it hard to understand how "pitty patty" punches, as they like to call them, can do so much damage to a fighter. What many don't realize is that both Diaz brothers often break Compustrike records for most punches thrown/landed almost every time they fight. One of the great photographers of the sport, Esther Lin, even explains in this video how she takes many more photos per minute for the Diaz brothers than any other fighters, just because of how much is going on. It's this exact pace that bring their opponents into "deep waters", often much earlier than they expected or ever anticipated.
The great thing about fighting, as well as all sports, is that in almost all cases you never know for sure what's going to happen, but you will find out soon enough.
As for me, I have my own war forthcoming. Six days following Diaz vs. Condit, I will be battling Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Mikey Gomez in the XFC live on HDNet. Gomez is currently on a 3 fight winning streak, recently defeating the #2 ranked as well as #9 ranked Middleweights in Florida. Yours truly is ranked #5 following my recent defeat to Dan Cramer, as I was on a 5 fight winning streak prior, with 4 fights coming by way of KO or submission in under 5 minutes total. Attached is also a brief HL reel for anyone who may be interested. Anyone interested sponsors or writers may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time as always guys, feedback is appreciated!