In a bit of a bizarre ending, Carlos Condit beat Nick Diaz and won the right to face Georges St. Pierre to unify the UFC welterweight championship last night. The crowd reaction was negative, and here’s a sampling of fighter Twitters after the fight. To top it all off, Diaz stated that he was going to retire from MMA. While this may just be another example of Diaz being Diaz, the results of this fight greatly impact the welterweight division.
Condit executed a perfect gameplan to beat Diaz; instead of being lured into a firefight, Condit stuck to the outside and refused to fall for Diaz’s bait. Diaz was never able to get into any rhythm and hence his frustration. Remember that while Diaz is a long welterweight, so is Condit. Condit was able to nullify much of Diaz’s standard strategy and natural advantages while demonstrating a solid kicking game. Diaz did not have the footwork to cut Condit off and stop the evasion game.
The question now is if Condit has the tools to beat GSP. Condit has a great well-rounded game, but GSP is the king of well-roundedness. Condit faced Rory MacDonald and was outwrestled, though he still managed to win. A kicking based plan isn’t likely to work against GSP- Condit was successful against Diaz because Diaz isn’t the takedown threat GSP is. Throwing many kicks against a top wrestler is a recipe for getting planted. Condit has brutally knocked people out with a variety of methods, but GSP is unlikely to make errors that leave openings for these kinds of blows. That being said, Condit should be less of an underdog than Diaz- Diaz does not have the takedown defence to stop someone like GSP.
If Diaz is seriously walking away, he might be thinking of going to do some boxing matches. He’s said things about going into boxing in the past, and his mercurial nature has made him a difficult person to work with during his MMA career. However, it is likely that there would be some sort of clause in UFC fighter contracts that prevents fighters from breaking contracts and then immediately going to another fight organization. Diaz still has a bright future in MMA and it would be a shame to see him leave. If he didn’t get angry when people don’t fight his fight and spent more time of his own on gameplans, he could be an incredibly dangerous contender.
Stephen Thompson had his UFC debut last night, and came in with a lot of hype. He had 55+ wins in kickboxing, and was 5-0 in pro MMA. “Wonderboy” lived up to expectations with this lead head kick KO which netted him the Knockout of the Night bonus: