This Saturday, New Mexico native Carlos Condit, who holds the UFC interim welterweight champion title, faces perhaps the biggest fight of his professional career against legendary mixed martial artist Georges St-Pierre. SFR caught up with Condit to discuss how he's been preparing for the fight.
St-Pierre, the welterweight champ who tore his anterior cruciate ligament last December, is widely viewed as the greatest welterweight (a weight class between 156 and 170 pounds) athlete in UFC history. His injury paved the way for a fight for the interim welterweight championship in February between Condit and Nick Diaz. Condit went into that fight as the underdog and won in a narrow but unanimous decision after five rounds.
Condit's victory over Diaz was controversial to some: he spent much of the fight using what he calls a "stick and move" strategy, ie getting a hit or two in before quickly shifting away from Diaz' aggressive attacks. To critics, it looked like Condit, who goes by the stage name Natural Born Killer, was running away. Still, he came out more efficient with his hits. At the end of the fight, a visibly frustrated Diaz—he had more cuts on his face than Condit—said he didn't accept the judges' results.
Now, Condit goes to St-Pierre's hometown Montreal to fight as the heavy underdog. The match is the main event for UFC 154, which begins at 8pm MT on Pay-Per-View.
Below, Condit shares his thoughts...
...on his mindset during a fight:
The mental state before I go into a fight is really, "I’m going to stand
across from a guy who’s going to try to kick my ass, and I got to kick his ass
before he gets me."
Who I am and my mindset and my mentality in the cage is a part of me. But it’s reserved for competition. Or it's reserved for training and sparring. I guess I have kind of a multifaceted personally with a lot of different aspects to myself. In the ring, I’m the Natural Born Killer. I’m trying to frickin’ put a knee on your chin or split you open so bad the doctor has to stop the fight.
...on his win against Nick Diaz:
I fought a smart fight. It wasn’t the fight maybe that a lot
of people wanted to see. Some people just wanted to see a face-punching
competition, and I wasn’t going to get into that kind of a fight with Diaz. I
wasn’t going to play to his strengths. So I switched up my game plan, and I was
able to pick him apart, frustrate him and come with a win.
That fight was a test run and a new approach. I think we’re going to bring some of those aspects that you saw in the Nick Diaz fight to this fight, but maybe with a different overall strategy.
I incorporated more of a stick and move strategy. I didn’t want to get in prolonged exchanges with him, because Nick is one of the best boxers in the business, he’s a volume puncher, really overwhelms guys with his pace and the amount of punches he throws. So I was trying to hit him with big shots and make angles and get out of the way and keep the fight in the center of the cage. He loves to push guys up against the cage and beat them down. I wanted a fight in the center of the cage and I accomplished that.
...on his chances against St-Pierre:
I really feel like he has all the pressure on him. He’s
fighting in his backyard. This is a must win fight for him. He’s coming off an
injury, he’s really looking to cement his legacy. I really have nothing to
lose. I’m still a young guy. I still have a lot of time left in this sport. I
get an opportunity to go in there and display my skills and fight to the best
of my ability. I feel that I have the advantage because I’m the underdog and I
have nothing to lose.
Photo courtesy Ultimate Fighting Championship.