Carlos Condit took a lot of flak in the wake of his UFC 143 perfomance vs Nick Diaz. Many accused him of running away from Nick and not engaging. This weekend he shoved that back in their faces and then some. First off all, it really annoys me how incredibly fickle we MMA fans can be some times. Is there any other sport in which the 'what have you done for me lately?' theory is so prominent? One good fight and you are the next big thing. One bad fight and you are a scrub who never beat any one important.
But that's not really the point of this rambling, inconherent, unplanned fanpost. The point is to acknowledge Condit as one of the most exciting fighters in all of MMA and worship him as my own personal hero.
I will preface this by saying that I never watched any of his WEC fights live. The first fight I ever saw of his was his UFC debut vs Martin Kampmann and I have been a massive fan ever since. He came into that fight with quite a bit hype as the WEC champ and put on an amazing fight with a respected vet in Kampmann. He lost a split decision that night but it was one of those fights were there are no losers. Condit then regrouped and put on another war with UFC newcomer Jake Ellenberger. He took an absolute beating from Jake in the first round but recovered like nobodies business and went on to take a split decision. Despite these two amazing fights some people criticised Condit because he had went to two decisions in his first two UFC fights.
Carlos got his first finish in the UFC in his next fight but left it late against Rory Macdonald with only 7 seconds left on the clock. This was another excellent fight but one that I feel a lot of people don't remember properly, particularly those who say Rory destroyed Carlos for two rounds before fading in the third. Rory was able to land some nice strikes and repeatedly took Carlos down throughout the first two rounds but didn't land anything offensively on the ground and Condit was able to get back to his feet after each take down. By the middle of the second round Carlos had completely taken over in my opinion and was connecting solidly and consistently on the feet and completely avoiding all damage on the ground. Although the judges may have seen it differently I would actually have had Condit winning that fight if it had went the extra couple of seconds.
Carlos then stepped it up signifiantly over his next two fights, finishing recently defeated title challenger Dan Hardy with a picture perfect hook and then destroying Dong Hyun Kim with an amazing flying knee. The most impressive thing about this is that neither guy had ever been KO'd before or has been since. It showed that Condit truly was a Natural Born Killer and had true one shot KO power.
One of the most interesting things about Condit is that although he is a killer in the cage, he seems like a genuinely nice guy outside of it. When the Diaz/GSP bullshit was going on Condit didn't bitch and complain like many would have done. I'm sure Dana took care of him finicially for it but I thought he handled that whole situation with extreme class and professionalism. He took the Diaz fight and fought an incredibly smart fight to take the decision. People didn't like it because it wasn't the wild brawl they wanted or expected but he did what he had to do to win to get his deserved title shot and payday vs GSP. Aside from that, I actually really enjoyed the fight. Definitely not what I expected but still a great display of technical striking and smart game planning and fight IQ.
His decision to wait for GSP to recover was a little frustrating as a fan but competely understandable. He earned a title shot and that big payday so he had every right to wait for it. Plus GSP coming off a major surgery and long lay off would definitely have increased his chances of winning. As it turned out, it was not to be. He did give GSP a tough fight and had him worried with the head kick in the third but overall it was pretty much your standard GSP fight.
Coming into this weekend then Carlos needed a big performancea dn boy did he deliver. Hendricks played his part too, landing some absolute bombs and showing impressive takedowns (even if he did do nothing with 90% of them) but Condit really showed why he is such a tough SOB. The shots that he landed were the same shots that put Fitch and Kampmann out cold. Condit took them and kept moving forward. Actually, scratch that. He moved back. Moved back and then threw flying knees with his back against the cage. It could be because I feel so emotionally attached to Condit but I thought this was one of the one exciting and nerve wrecking fights I have ever watched. Even though I watched it a day later I was literally shaking as I watched and screaming like crazy when Condit landed anything. I personally scored the fight for him but have no problem whatsoever with 29-28 Hendricks. Or a draw for that matter.
Condit now finds himself in a tough spot. He won't be contending for a title any time soon as long as GSP stays champ and is probably going to struggle with tough wrestlers. He is an incredibly tough match up for basically anyone in the division however and the UFC won't want him knocking off contenders. I could see a rematch with Diaz or Kampmann or a fresh match up with someone like Lawlor maybe.
One thing is for sure though. Carlos Condit has proved that he is an incredibly exciting fighter and he comes to fight. I kinda doubt it will but hopefully the 'Natural Born Runner' shit can stop now and the haters will appreciate what an azming talent this guy really is.