Posted from: The Fight Week
It would have been one of the biggest showdowns in 2012. A match-up between UFC Welterweight Champion George St. Pierre and Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz had all the ingredients of a classic: a fierce personal rivalry between two men considered the best in their weight class and the potential of a title unification across two organisations. If only Carlos Condit hadn’t made other plans.
Over five frustrating rounds, Diaz conceded the interim welterweight championship to underdog Condit, who executed a masterful game plan that could only have come from arch MMA strategist Greg Jackson.
For most of the 25 minutes, Diaz chased down an elusive Condit. Fighting within his comfort zones, aggressively pushing the pace, backing Condit up; Diaz taunted his opponent verbally but failed to entice him into the brawl that has been the undoing of so many of his previous opponents.
Condit matched Diaz’s outstanding endurance and outworked him for cage positioning, firing off his own shots; mixing up his strikes with leg kicks, elbows and spinning back-fists.
Condit out-struck Diaz 159-117 with 151 "significant strikes" to Diaz’s 105. An embittered Diaz nevertheless claimed victory.
"I pushed this guy backwards. He ran from me the whole fight. He ran this whole fight. I landed the harder shots. He ran the whole time. He kicked me in the leg with little baby leg kicks the whole fight. That’s the way they understand to win in here," bemoaned Diaz.
There may be some truth to that. In strikes to the head and body, Diaz landed 111 to Condit’s 91. In strikes to the legs, it was Condit 68, Diaz 6. In a post-match interview, Condit suggested that was his strategy all along.
"From the very beginning, I broke that leg down. I chopped his leg, chopped his leg, chopped his leg. So even if he had the cardio, he didn’t have the wheels," said Condit.
It was an effective, cautious strategy which worked. A strategy which has now landed Condit a match-up against George St. Pierre, the man many people consider the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
For MMA fans, Condit’s deserved victory will come as an anti-climax for a fight between St.Pierre and Diaz which had been hyped for almost a year.
Diaz, who had been sacked by the UFC five years ago, was brought over from Strikeforce specifically to fight St. Pierre. His very presence in the UFC had riled up the man they call GSP more than any other fighter ever has. If any other fighter could lay claim to being the best welterweight in the world, it was Diaz. However fate, injuries and Diaz’s inability to attend press conferences threw obstacles which made that mouth-watering matchup increasingly unlikely. Condit was clearly one obstacle too many.
In the depth of after-fight bitterness, Diaz vowed to walk away from the sport.
"I think I’m done with MMA. I don’t need this shit," said Diaz. "I don’t want to play this game anymore."
However sincere that post fight lament, a fight between the enigmatic Diaz and the eerily professional GSP has now drifted further into the distance. It will now be up to Condit, who has all the skills at his disposal, to end GSP’s nine-fight winning streak.
Posted from The Fight Week