MMA Sentinel: You have one of the most active and threatening guards in MMA. What's your view on the application of the guard, and what's your goal once you're on your back?
Carlos Condit: The guard can be a really effective tool. Unfortunately, the way that the scoring is these days, if a guy is on his back, a lot of times he's viewed to be losing, so unless you're doing something really effective with your guard, either sweeping or striking really effectively or threatening with submissions, you could ultimately look like you're losing. It's a really great tool though, and it can keep you out of trouble, especially with really strong wrestlers.
MMA Sentinel: How does that make you feel, that MMA judging sort of views it better for you to stand up than to fight aggressively from your back?
Carlos Condit: I think if a guy is controlling the pace of a fight by having the other guy on his back and dominating the fight with effective striking, he should be getting the nod from the judges as far as who's winning the fight. If the guy from the bottom is threatening, if he's sweeping and he's threatening the submission, then I think that should be viewed in a little bit higher esteem from the judges than it is now.
MMA Sentinel: What are the keys for succeeding so long in a really wrestler heavy division without having much of a formal wrestling background yourself?
Carlos Condit: Well, actually I did start wrestling first, but I ended up getting away from it when I started doing jiu-jitsu and kickboxing. I would attribute it to just my well rounded ability, being able to be effective off my back, and just being tenacious and creative. What I lack in certain aspects of my game, I make up for with my athleticism and creativity. Sometimes, I'm just determined to win, I'm just tenacious.
MMA Sentinel: Your next opponent is Matt Brown, who is more than likely going to bite down on his mouthpiece and just stand and trade with you. Do you prefer that kind of fight, or do you like a fight where you get to test different aspects of your game?
Carlos Condit: Stylistically, the fight with Matt Brown is definitely one where I feel comfortable, because it is most likely going to be a striking battle. This is a mixed martial arts fight, so I can't bank on this most likely being a striking battle. You never know, he could come out and work his top game and his jiu-jitsu, and try to submit me. There's so many different ways to win, and so many different strategies to be employed, that you can't just rely on what a guy does usually. These guys are constantly improving in all aspects of their game, so we'll just see what he brings to the table.
MMA Sentinel: He's on a big win streak, six in a row; do you think if you beat him you're in line for another title shot, or do you think they're going to make you fight another one?
Carlos Condit: I don't know. I think a lot of it depends on how the Robbie Lawler/Rory MacDonald fight goes. I think those are the two guys that are really moving up through the ranks. Demian Maia also has that fight against Jake Shields. He's been on a tear. I'm focusing on my fight, but I think title contention is going to depend a lot on how these other fights pan out, too. The best thing I can do is go out there and have a dominant performance against Brown.
MMA Sentinel: Your conditioning is some of the best in the sport, and that tends to be a factor in a lot of your fights. Would you prefer if all your fights were five rounds?
Carlos Condit: The longer I'm in the sport, and the more five rounders that I can get under my belt; I do kind of prefer that. I don't know if Matt Brown's ever been in a five round fight. I've been in several of them. I've been in the championship rounds several times, and I know I can go into those rounds and still have gas in the tank to come forward and be aggressive. I would prefer it, but this fight's a three rounder, so I'll just have to pick up the pace and try to make the conditioning a factor by really pushing the gas pedal.
MMA Sentinel: This year, you will have fought three times in a year. How much easier is it for you to stay focused and motivated when you have fights that don't fall through and everything goes according to plan?
Carlos Condit: The thing I like about fighting twice in a year, is you really get a chance to focus and work on things in the down time. You get time to improve and build your strengths and just do a lot of work in the off season. Jumping right back into a fight, like I am now, I won't have as hard of a weight cut, but I also didn't get six months to weight train between this last fight and the next, so there are definitely some upsides and downsides to it. I do feel I'm carrying a lot of the things we worked on and the conditioning from the last camp and this one.
MMA Sentinel: You've seemed sharper in the cage over the last year, much more on point. Is that because of something you're doing differently in your training?
Carlos Condit: I have several striking coaches that are amazing, and each one of them kind of has their own strengths. Mike Winkeljohn is awesome; he works with us a lot on our foot work and our angles, and a lot on strategy. Brandon Gibson is a really good boxing coach, and Mike Valle is our Muay Thai coach. Working with Mike, he's just such a dynamic striking coach that you never throw the same combination twice. Some people look at that and think that we're not including the movements of a particular combination or technique, but what it's really doing is training your brain to think and see things as they come, as opposed to more rigid instruction, ‘This is the combination I throw when you do this.' This way is more adaptive, and I think that's really what people are seeing in my improvements.
MMA Sentinel: You're often referred to as having an awkward style. Would you prefer to be thought of as graceful rather than awkward, or do you like that you have this unique style that is difficult for people to deal with?
Carlos Condit: Whatever works for me. I don't care, awkward or not. Whatever it is, it works. It's the other guy in there getting his ass kicked, so it's working for me.
MMA Sentinel: Six of your last seven fights have got you ‘of the night' bonuses. How much of a difference do those bonuses make to you?
Carlos Condit: Well, it doesn't hurt. You know, it's definitely an honor, but I don't do anything different. I just go in there and do what I do, what I've always done. Lucky for me, my fighting style and abilities get me those bonuses. I love what I do, and it's awesome to be rewarded for it.
MMA Sentinel: Rory MacDonald has been doing very well lately, and Nick Diaz has been making some noise about coming back. Do either of those potential rematches interest you at all, even though you won them both?
Carlos Condit: Yes, definitely. They are controversial. I have a lot of rematches out there that could be made; a lot of guys that I've had close fights with, either I won, or they won. My losses I'd like to get back, and the controversial wins that I've got, I'd like to get in there and get some more dominant finishes. I think rematches are great, because there is that history there, whether it's Diaz or MacDonald, because there is some bad blood, and that's something that the fans can get excited about.
MMA Sentinel: You've fought both Johny Hendricks and Georges St. Pierre. How do you see their fight playing out?
Carlos Condit: I do think that's an interesting match-up. Hendricks obviously has some incredible wrestling abilities. I think it's going to come down to who can take who down or who can defend the other guy's takedowns. If Georges is able to take Hendricks down, I think he's going to win the fight with a decision. If Hendricks is able to stop Georges' takedowns, that's going to make for a really interesting fight. We might just get to see Georges out of the comfort zone that he's enjoyed over the last... I don't know how many title defenses. He's been able to pretty much at will, put a guy on his back, whereas Hendricks has that power, that left hand that could put Georges to sleep. I'm definitely looking forward to it.
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