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Carlos Condit confirms Nick Diaz turned down fight, still interested in rematch

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Long before Tyron Woodley ever entered the picture, an exasperated UFC President Dana White told reporters back in December that he attempted to book a rematch between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz to round out UFC 171's welterweight showcase.

According to White, Diaz turned down the offer, continuing a running theme of the Stockton native hovering within his own self-imposed hiatus while seemingly waiting for a title shot to present itself.

Condit, on the other hand, didn't need much convincing.

"The fight was offered to me. I agreed," Condit confirmed on a Thursday media conference call. "I thought the first fight, there was obviously a lot of controversy after the fact. (It's) probably a rematch a lot of people want to see, a lot of hype, a lot of buzz. It's the type of fight I want to be in, so you know, I pretty much agreed right off the bat.

"Nick, for whatever reason, I'm sure he's got his reasons, didn't take the fight. But in the future I would be interested in the fight. I think rematches are always intriguing, especially when they're close like that one."

Diaz and Condit fought to a contentious split decision in February 2012, the result of which prompted Diaz to announce his vague retirement for the first time. White believed the rematch was a bout Diaz coveted, however that turned out not to be the case.

In Diaz's stead, White turned to Woodley, a bruising former Strikeforce contender with the pedigree of a two-time NCAA All American, plus two highlight reel knockouts already under his belt in the UFC.

"Getting matched up with Woodley, it's a huge test of my skills, which is what I'm always looking for," Condit said.

"This division is and has been dominated by wrestlers for a long time, and that's obviously something that I've been lacking. So I've made a point to bring in some high-level guys and try to improve that aspect of my game.

"I've definitely made some big strides," he continued. "I don't think I'm going to get in there and win a wrestling match against Tyron, but I've just got to stop some of those takedowns, be able to handle to handle myself in the wrestling exchanges enough to win the fight and implement my game."

Woodley campaigned heavily on social media for the opportunity to fight Condit following his devastating first-round knockout of Josh Koscheck in late-2013.

Initially White indicated that Woodley, welterweight's No. 11 ranked contender, was not ready for a match-up against the No. 2 fighter in the division. However, now the that bout is less than two weeks away, Condit is willing to throw out the rankings and concentrate on the task ahead.

"Whether he's the No. 1 ranked contender or he's not, he's still a phenomenal fighter," Condit said. "It's going to be a huge test of my skills, and I've got to focus on who's in front of me right now. After that, then we'll think about the next set."