Over three years have passed since Carlos Condit edged Nick Diaz to become interim UFC welterweight champion. But considering all the cries of ‘Diaz 1, 2, 5' that continue to litter MMA comments sections, it may as well have been yesterday.
With then-champion Georges St-Pierre sidelined by injury in Feb. 2012, Condit scored a unanimous decision over Diaz to capture the interim title at UFC 143. The win, however, was not without controversy. Ardent Diaz supporters bombarded social media with outrage over Condit's movement-heavy gameplan and their belief that Diaz's volume and aggression should've won him the first, second, and fifth rounds on the judges' scorecards.
While the uproar ultimately meant nothing, as both Condit and Diaz fell short in subsequent bids against the returning St-Pierre, the criticism of Condit's tactics stuck like a thorn in the side of the Albuquerque native for several years, flying in the face of Condit's well-earned reputation as one of the most ruthless and efficient finishers the division has ever seen. And he doubts that sentiment ends anytime soon.
"Honestly, I don't think anything short of a rematch with [Diaz] would change things in anybody's mind," Condit said Monday on The MMA Hour. "I'm not worried about it. I went out there and I got the win. And ... I've said it in interviews in the past, I've agreed to that rematch a couple times. I don't know if he's ever coming back."
Diaz is currently awaiting a September disciplinary hearing from the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) after testing positive for marijuana metabolites in his UFC 183 fight against Anderson Silva. The incident was Diaz's third such failure for marijuana, and considering Diaz's history with the NAC, it's possible the welterweight could receive a suspension stretching across several years.
Condit, on the other hand, is slated to challenge for the title against UFC champion Robbie Lawler at the 70,000-seat Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia at UFC 193. The show has the potential to smash UFC 129's current attendance record of 55,724, and the match-up against Lawler has all the makings of an instant classic.
Condit's title shot was in many ways a surprise considering the welterweight division has a glut of worthy contenders, the main two of which -- Johny Hendricks and Tyron Woodley -- both own recent wins over "The Natural Born Killer." But neither Hendricks nor Woodley carry the name cachet of Diaz, and if Condit emerges with the belt at UFC 193, a championship rematch against Stockton's favorite son would undoubtedly do big business.
Such a scenario would obviously require Diaz to get off light next month in his NAC hearing. But even if that were the case, and everything lines up perfectly, Condit would rather meet a deserving contender than allow Diaz to once again jump the line for a title shot.
"Fighting Nick Diaz comes with a lot of other stuff," Condit said. "There's the fight it and of itself. Hey, it's a tough fight. It's a tough guy to gameplan against and to fight. But the fans and the social media aspect, all of that, I'd have to get my head right for that. Of course I'm not looking past Robbie Lawler, but if I get this belt, I'd like to avenge a couple losses to the next couple of guys who you mentioned earlier, Hendricks and Woodley."