Poor Carlos Condit. The UFC interim welterweight champion has been relegated to the background throughout what should be the height of his fame.
First, he was all but an afterthought leading into his UFC 143 fight with Nick Diaz, as most people were more interested in the Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre fight which was expected to follow. Then he was criticized by many (myself included) for his performance in his biggest victory to date, when he outpointed Nick Diaz to win the interim title. He was further criticized for not defending the interim belt.
Condit once again finds himself in the shadows as he gets set to meet GSP in the latter's return fight Saturday night in Montreal. Not only has St-Pierre's reappearance overshadowed the challenger, but it seems like if anyone does talk to Condit, it's to ask him what he thinks of a potential fight between GSP and Anderson Silva.
So with all this in mind, it's time to show Condit a little love. As the hours wind toward UFC 154, here's a quick look at my three favorite Carlos Condit fights. (There's no measurable criteria used in the selection of these fights. They are simply my favorite "Natural Born Killer" moments in and of themselves):
1. Defeated Carlo Prater, WEC 32, Rio Rancho, N.M., Feb. 13, 2008: Sure, this isn't a classic fight per se, but Condit's WEC welterweight title defense just outside of his hometown was one of the more emotional bouts I've ever attended. This was already memorable night in WEC history -- which also featured Jamie Varner's knockout of Rob McCullough to win the lightweight title and Miguel Torres finishing Chase Beebe to take the bantamweight crown -- before Condit and Prater even hit the cage. Condit found himself in a bad spot early on the ground with Prater, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. But Condit stayed patient, found an opening, and submitted Prater with a guillotine, earning a reaction from his hometown fans in a smaller arena as loud as any I've heard in a big-city rink.
2. Defeated Hiromitsu Miura, WEC 35, Las Vegas, Aug. 3, 2008: Condit followed the Prater fight with a defense against Miura, who came into the bout the winner of five of his past six. Condit and Miura set a ridiculous pace in a back-and-forth bout, the first time either went beyond three rounds. Both fighters were exhausted in the fourth, but it was Condit who found that little something extra and finished Miura via strikes in the closing moments of the round. This was Condit's first chance to show a national audience his heart under fire, but far from his last. Which brings us to ...
4. Defeated Rory MacDonald, UFC 115, Vancouver, June 12, 2010: Think Condit is intimidated by fighting on someone else's home turf? MacDonald, the then-undefeated British Columbia native, cruised through the first two rounds with the Vancouver fans on his side. Then, perhaps foreshadowing the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup Game 7 win over the Canucks in the same building nearly a year to the day afterwards, the outsider took it to the hometown hero when it counted most and stunned the crowd, rallying in the third round and winning on a TKO in the match's final seconds.
The victory over MacDonald served as a lesson to never count Condit out, no matter the circumstances. That's something which St-Pierre would be wise to heed on Saturday night.
On to this week's Fightweets. If you want to be considered for a future edition, leave me a question on my Twitter page.
Why can't GSP finish foes?
@abdullaham1: Do you think GSP's opponents go into survival mode so they are hard to finish? Or is he not availing his chances?
I think there's been more of the former than the latter. You have to take the fights on a case-by-case basis. Let's start with the Jon Fitch bout at UFC 87, which is where GSP's current run of five decisions in six fights starts. On offense that night, St-Pierre did everything but attack Fitch with a sledgehammer. Final scores were a pair of 50-44s and a 50-43. The non-finish there is entirely down to Fitch's toughness.
Then there was the B.J. Penn rematch, in which St-Pierre battered and overpowered Penn until Penn's corner threw in the towel after the fourth round.
Thiago Alves was a Muay Thai wrecking machine at his career peak when he fought GSP at UFC 100. So St-Pierre was smart from a strategic standpoint to take Alves down over and over, even if he didn't come close to finishing. Likewise, it was good strategy to take Dan Hardy to the floor. Why give Hardy a chance to land a home-run knockout? Don't forget St-Pierre landed a tight first-round armbar and an equally deep Kimura in the fourth. Hardy toughed it out.
Josh Koscheck, like Fitch before him, ended up looking like Glass Joe in Punch-Out about a punch or two before Little Mac finished him off by the time the fight was done. GSP busted his orbital bone and it made sense to just jab and jab. As for the Jake Shields fight, GSP himself has called it a less-than-stellar performance.
So, to sum up: One finish (Penn); two who came out of their encounters looking like they were on the wrong end of a gang-initiation beatdown (Fitch and Koscheck); one tough SOB who came within inches of getting Mir'd (Hardy); and maybe two fights out of the six where GSP could and maybe should have been more aggressive in looking for the finish (Alves and Shields). All in all, that's not a bad record.
Title fights on TV
@Auggie85: After Fox 6 all title will have been on free TV except FW WW & MW. Which is most likely to be next if Aldo, GSP and Silva remain?
The chances of the UFC giving away a St-Pierre or Silva title fight on free TV are slim.
Pay-per-view is still the company's bread and butter. There are only a handful of fighters who are guaranteed huge draws. Silva and GSP are two of them. Jon Jones and Junior dos Santos are slowly but surely getting there (And as an aside, for those who have criticized Jones' drawing power, neither Manny Pacquiao nor Floyd Mayweather Jr. were overnight PPV sensations, either. These things take time).
The UFC took a gamble when it put the first dos Santos-Cain Velasquez fight on network TV. Zuffa wanted to make a big splash in its first live FOX event, so it took a bout that would have been a big PPV draw and gave it to the network. UFC is profitable, but despite prevailing opinion, it hasn't discovered the secret for growing money on trees. So it's not going to put huge-money, PPV-caliber fights on network TV on a regular basis until network TV is paying PPV-level rights feed.
UFC title fights on TV are generally reserved for champions who don't yet have the exposure to headline a pay-per-view without a facing a proven draw. That went for Dominick Cruz, who headlined a pay-per-view against Urijah Faber, but then defended his bantamweight title against Demetrious Johnson on Versus, It will also go for Johnson when he fights John Dodson on UFC on FOX 6. Sure, his bout with Joseph Benavidez was originally scheduled to headline UFC 152, but Dana White didn't hesitate to bump them down to co-main as soon as an opportunity presents itself. And likewise, Benson Henderson can benefit from the Fox exposure, especially if his bout with Nate Diaz lives up to expectations.
Aldo's somewhere in between the two. He's neither a GSP-level star nor a TV fighter. All of his UFC fights have been either PPV headliners or part of a two title bout, co-main event. A strong performance against Frankie Edgar could push him over the top as a solo headliner.
@gihuOO: Why have UFC commentators Jon Anik/Joe Rogan stop interviewing fighters after many decision fights (some finishes too)?
There's no real conspiracy here. It's just a matter of trying to fit everything into allotted per-pay-view or television time slots. UFC actually does a better job pacing their shows than most fight promotions (go to a boxing card with a string of mismatches on the undercard and long waits in between fights and you'll see what I mean), but things aren't always going run according to plan. When the show is running behind, ditching the interview is the easiest shortcut.
Thiago Silva: Contender or gatekeeper?
@BIG_HUNT901: The ship sailed on the idea of Thiago [Silva] being a top contender? huh? Yeah your an idiot man!
Well, sir, it is "you're an idiot," not "your an idiot." But really, it is no more my place to act as Twitter English teacher than it is for Steve Perceval to tell fighters not to let their fight go to the scorecard. Anyway, let's take a look at Silva's career from the point at which he ran his record to 13-0, when he made quick work of Antonio Mendes at UFC 84. First, he was run over by Lyoto Machida. Then he defeated Keith Jardine, which occurred in the middle of Jardine's five-fight losing streak. Then he lost to Rashad Evans. Then he acted like he was going through ‘roid rage during his fight with Brandon Vera, and, lo and behold, he was suspended afterwards for a falsified urine sample. Silva returned and lost to Alexander Gustafsson, then he had to rally to defeat Stanislav Nedkov.
Silva has beaten the lower-level guys and lost handily to the stars. That's the definition of a gatekeeper.
WSOF and Strikeforce
@xX_FROST_Xx: Is it just me, or does WSOF's numbers look very similar to Strikeforce numbers? Payouts, attendance, and gates?
They sure do. And Strikeforce is about to go out of business. What does that tell you?
@BreadandWater94: Should UFC implement Bellator Tournament rules for title shots? Or should we just watch the Chael Sonnens get title shots??
Thank God those aren't the only two options.