In January, Carlos Condit lost a narrow split decision to Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight championship. Afterwards, Condit was open about considering retirement out of concern for his health, saying he might only return if it was for a title. Then last month it was announced that Condit would be returning at UFC 202 against third-ranked Demian Maia. Then last week the bout was removed from UFC 202 and made the main event of UFC on FOX 21, possibly in response to negative fan reaction that the fight would only be a three-round contest.
Aside from fan reaction, there is at least one other person who is happy with the change: Condit himself. Yesterday on SiriusXM Rush's Toe-2-Toe with Brian Stann, Condit spoke about the change to the fight and how it benefits him.
"I feel like it gives me more opportunity to do what I need to do in this fight, which is create openings to implement my game against a very tough guy to fight."
Condit has long been viewed as a fighter whose game is better suited to five-round affairs. He has a 7-2 record in five-round fights, losing only to welterweight GOAT Georges St-Pierre (a fight in which he seriously hurt St-Pierre but was ultimately unable to finish) and the contentious defeat to Lawler. Having twice come so close to winning the title, Condit's goal is to get one more crack at the elusive belt, something he thinks a win over Maia earns him.
"I think that a win in spectacular fashion over Demian Maia gets me the title shot. I don't see why it wouldn't. Arguably Demian Maia could be the No. 1 contender. The reason he's not is because of his fighting style, not the most exciting dude but he's beat the who's who in the division. So I think that a win over him without a doubt gets me back to a shot and an opportunity to get the belt around my waist."
For his part, Maia has been on a tear recently. Since the former middleweight title challenger dropped to 170, he has amassed an 8 - 2 record (including five fighters currently in the top 15) losing only a split decision to Jake Shields and a unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald. In another time, Maia would have already punched his ticket to a title shot but there is currently a backlog of contenders and Maia's grappling based game isn't the most fan friendly of the available options. Also his smothering ground control isn't something most welterweight contenders are lining up to face. Even Condit admits he would prefer another option, but that fighting Demian Maia is the shortest path back to the belt.
"He's a tough fight. If there was any other way to get to No. 1 contender, I admit I'd probably want to take it too. He's a tough style match-up for me. But I've never backed down from a challenge. It's exciting to me to try to solve the puzzle that is Demian Maia with the tools that I have."
The winner of this fight does appear to have the inside track on the next welterweight title shot, so long as he is willing to wait since Stephen Thompson has been promised a title shot following his outclassing of Rory MacDonald in June. Should Thompson get injured though, the winner of this fight would be the logical assumption to step in. Who that might be against will be determined this weekend in the main event this Saturday of UFC 201 where Robbie Lawler defends his championship against Tyron Woodley. Condit, who has fought (and lost to) both men, gave his opinion on who he thinks will win the bout.
"I think the difference in this fight and the outcome is going to depend on who can keep the pressure on the other guy in those resting periods. Who can push the pace and not let the other guy rest. I'm gonna have to go with Woodley. Robbie Lawler is a phenomenal fighter but he's been in so many wars recently that I'm wondering how much of a toll is that going to take on him?"
Carlos Condit fights Demian Maia at UFC on Fox 21, August 27th in Vancouveer, British Columbia, Canada. A partial clip of the interview can be listened to below.
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I'm gonna hit you with a hot take right now: if Demian Maia beats Carlos Condit, he deserves a title shot over Stephen Thompson. Wonderboy has wins over the No. 2- and No. 8-ranked welterweights right now, and a loss a loss to the No. 9. If Maia wins, he will have wins over 12, 11, 10, 9, 7, and 5 and a loss to the No. 2. No doubt Thompson has looked sensational, but if you are one of those people who want to go off of merit, I would take Maia's accomplishments over Wonderboy's any day.
This is a moot point though because now that he's got 5 rounds to work with, Condit will show why he's the guy who I'd pick if I had to choose one welterweight to fight in a trial by combat for my life. If Condit wins, I hope we get to see him fight Matt Brown in a title eliminator as the co-main event of the Thompson-Lawler/Woodley title fight. That fight is my everything, and then getting Thompson-Condit for the belt?! If only we could be so lucky.
Until tomorrow M.Rmy.
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