It’s no secret that a showdown between Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre would mean big business.
Fans want to see it and UFC brass have already begun promoting it. But as far as Carlos Condit is concerned, that scrap won’t be happening any time soon.
“In a sense it bothers me a little bit because they’re promoting that fight as if this one has already happened,” Condit said over the phone. “That’s what they’re doing. But I’ve got to focus on fighting Diaz, winning the fight and kind of spoiling the party for everybody.”
Condit gets the opportunity to play the role of spoiler when he meets Diaz in the main event of UFC 143 Saturday in Las Vegas. The winner will not only be crowned interim welterweight champion and earn a shot at St. Pierre, he will also walk away with a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Though he feels slighted by the hype surrounding a potential St. Pierre-Diaz fight, Condit said it doesn’t add any extra motivation. After all, if the thought of being UFC champion doesn’t fire him up, he’s in the wrong business.
“I don’t know how I could be any more motivated than I already am,” Condit said. “I’m fighting for the UFC welterweight title and this has been a dream of mine for years. I’m about as motivated as I can get and all that other stuff is just out of my thoughts.”
Condit’s road to the title has been full of ups and downs. After Diaz failed to attend two news conferences hyping his scheduled fight with St. Pierre at UFC 137 in October, the former Strikeforce welterweight champ was scratched from the bout entirely. Condit was brought in as a replacement, but the Montreal native was forced off the card because of a knee injury. Condit then elected to wait for St. Pierre to recover instead of facing a new opponent.
Diaz stayed on to batter B.J. Penn in the main event and proceeded to call out the UFC welterweight titleholder. An enraged St. Pierre then demanded to face Diaz, costing Condit his shot at the gold. But after it was announced St. Pierre sustained yet another knee injury and would be sidelined to 10 months, Condit was brought back into the title picture to face Diaz for the interim strap.
As crazy as the last few months were, Condit admitted everything worked out for the better.
“I don’t really believe in fate,” Condit said. “That’s just the fight game, honestly.
“I would have liked to have been a lot more busy in 2011. I was pretty disappointed I didn’t get to fight in October. But things happen the way they happen and it ended up turning out pretty well. I’m here, about to fight at Mandalay Bay in the biggest fight of my life for the interim belt. It worked out and if I win, it will definitely have worked out.”
Stylistically, Condit and Diaz make for a hell of a fight. It’s a clash between arguably the two most aggressive fighters at 170 pounds. Neither man is known for point fighting and both look to put opponents away in brutal fashion.
Only one of Condit’s 27 professional victories has come via decision and Diaz has made a career of breaking opponents with his relentless pace.
How the aggression plays out could be one of the deciding factors of the bout. If the pendulum swings both ways, fans will be treated to a back-and-forth war. But if either fighter finds himself backing up throughout the bout, it will likely spell trouble.
Condit said he needs to break Diaz’s pressure and take him out of his comfort zone.
“If Diaz is able to impose his sheer aggression and consistently back me up, then I’m going to have problems,” Condit said. “But I think we have a pretty solid game plan. As good as Diaz is, there are definitely some places where I feel like I can exploit some things we’ve seen in tapes and exploit some holes in his game.
“From what I’ve seen, he’s not as good going backward as he his coming forward. He’s one of the best in the business coming forward, but it definitely throws his game off when he’s put on his heels.”
OWN WORST ENEMY
There are few fighters more polarizing than Diaz. Some fans hate the former Strikeforce welterweight champion, labelling him a disrespectful thug, while others love that what you see is what you get and Diaz refuses to play nice for the cameras.
Though Condit had never met Diaz in person before the pre-fight media events, he said he thinks the former Strikeforce welterweight champion is his own worst enemy.
“Nick, he’s kind of misunderstood, but I don’t think he does himself any justice to change that perception,” Condit said. “I didn’t realize he was like a life-long martial artist and he’d been doing it since he was a really young kid.
“I have respect for him as a fighter, as well. I think there’s mutual respect there.”