There was a time in mixed martial arts when WEC was widely considered a feeder organization for UFC. When UFC bought the company outright, it only seemed to add fuel to that fire. Years later, UFC interim Welterweight champion Carlos Condit is vying for the Zuffa Triple Crown: he left the WEC as its champion, holds the interim belt and, if things go his way at UFC 154 against Georges St-Pierre, he will wear the UFC Welterweight belt as well.
“I am hoping to be another WEC champion turned UFC champion,” Condit told Fighters.com. “That would be a huge accomplishment — that’s something I can tell my grandkids about. That is my number- one goal right now.”
When WEC was in full swing, fans and pundits speculated about how WEC fighters would fare in UFC. Fighters like Urijah Faber boasted they would compete at the level of UFC, but many fans were more than skeptical. Condit was always nonchalant about the issue, as if it were a foregone conclusion that he would eventually fight in the Octagon.
“I knew with hard work I would end up in the UFC,” he said. “Getting to the UFC is something that was in the plans. Everyone who straps on a pair of MMA gloves and goes to jiu-jitsu every day wants to go to the UFC.”
Though his crosshairs are aimed squarely at Georges St-Pierre and the UFC Welterweight championship, it’s important to remember that Condit’s name is already etched into the annals of Zuffa history as the last WEC Welterweight champion.
“I had some great fights, some great competition and I got a chance to be a part of something that is really amazing and will be remembered for a long time. The WEC has loyal fans and I will be remembered, which is pretty cool when I think about it. To have been a part of that is awesome.”
Condit earned his shot at GSP by defeating Nick Diaz at UFC 143 in February and walked out the cage an interim champion. To the dismay of many fans, he stated publicly that he would not defend the interim title, instead waiting for a bout with the current champion.
With the fight just days away, Condit still feels he made the right call. “GSP is one of the biggest stars in the sport and I am trying to fight in the biggest fights available to me,” Condit explained. “Fighting in the UFC is risky business and I need to seek the biggest reward for the risk. Fighting Georges is that big fight, it’s the big payoff that I am looking for. A win over GSP would be huge for my career.”
Condit’s camp is famous for meticulous preparation, such as watching tapes of previous fights by upcoming opponents. True to form, Condit has been studying tapes of St-Pierre fights, attempting to glean new insights from each. The trouble is, GSP is a highly adaptable fighter with very few obviously weak spots in his arsenal.
“There is a little information in all of his fights, and it’s hard to point to one specifically,” Condit said. “I guess his loss to Matt Serra is one that really stands out, but I think that was just an instance of him getting caught, and that can happen to anyone. You fight 100 times and you are eventually get caught with something. So nothing really specific, I guess.”
The showdown against St-Pierre promises to be a historic fight in Condit’s career. That said, he’s much more interested in the future than in making history. Only when pressed would he reflect on favorite moments in his fighting career.
“There have been so many moments that I enjoyed, but one that stands out is traveling to London to fight Dan Hardy,” Condit recalled. “I was an underdog in that fight, in his hometown. With as much trash as Hardy talks, it was very satisfying to go out there and not only shut him up, but completely silence 20,000 people in the O2 Arena.”
Condit is no stranger to being the underdog in fights, and it’s a role he has come to embrace.
“I’ve been told I’m too small, I’m too skinny, I’m not good enough. Time and time again I have proven people wrong. It adds to motivation for me. I like playing the spoiler role.” Condit certainly hopes to spoil Georges St-Pierre’s evening this Saturday at UFC 154 in Montreal.
Photo Credit: UFC