This Saturday, in the main event of UFC 201, champion Robbie Lawler and challenger Tyron Woodley will battle for the UFC welterweight title. Had things unfolded just a little bit differently back in early January, however, we could have a very different title fight on our hands this weekend.
To recount, it was in late January when “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit battled Lawler for five, frenzied rounds, and ultimately lost a decision that is still debated to this day. Had the judges seen things just a little bit differently on that bloodstained evening, it could well be Condit defending the welterweight title in UFC 201’s main event. But that’s not the way things went down.
Instead, Condit was forced to make peace with an extremely contentious loss, and when he was deprived of the immediate rematch many fans felt he deserved, he was left with only two choices: retire from the sport as he had previously considered, or re-enter the crowded welterweight race.
To the elation of fans everywhere, the ever-entertaining Condit chose the latter course, and is now scheduled for a comeback bout with BJJ whiz Demian Maia—another top welterweight who could also be fighting for the title this weekend if things had shaken out a little bit differently. Though the two were once scheduled to meet on the main card of UFC 202 on August 20, they’ll instead meet a week later, in the five-round main event of the UFC’s return to Vancouver, British Columbia.
In a recent appearance on SiriusXM Rush’s Toe 2 Toe with Brian Stann, Condit offered up some insights on this rapidly approaching bout. Perhaps the most interesting detail to emerge from this excellent interview was Condit’s admission that, were there any other path to number-one-contendership available, he’d have taken it.
“If there was any other way to get to number-one contender, I admit I'd probably want to take it. He’s a tough style matchup for me” Condit said of his bout with Maia. “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 most important thing for Condit, however, is that he believes a win over Demian Maia will earn him the welterweight division’s number one contender spot.
"I think that a win in spectacular fashion over Demian Maia gets me the title shot, I don’t see why it wouldn’t,” Condit told Stann. “Arguably Demian Maia could be the No. 1 contender. The reason he's not is because of his fighting style. He’s 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.”
Of course, even if Condit dominates Maia, he’ll still probably have to wait for the streaking Stephen Thompson to take his crack at the Lawler vs. Woodley winner. The important thing from the perspective of a fan, however, is that Condit’s recent flirtations with retirement appear to have been pushed to the backburner.
He’s now poised for an incredible style matchup with Demian Maia, and seems to be energized by the unique challenges this contest presents. Better still, he seems to understand that a victory in Vancouver will shuttle him right to the front of the line, where a high-action scrap with the winner of the Lawler-Woodley-Thompson violence triangle likely awaits. Yes, contrary to his recent retirement talk, the ever-entertaining Natural Born Killer seems to have plenty of fight left in him. Good news for any fight fan with a pulse.
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