UFC 143 Preview: The Paper Champion
This weekend history is going to take place. Something you haven’t seen since April of 2008 will occur – the UFC Welterweight title will change hands! The UFC would have you believe that this is a crucial apex in the history of the sport that you cannot afford to miss – but, is this really the case? At the end of the day, whoever wins the “interim” Welterweight title, whether it be Carlos Condit or Nick Diaz, cannot hope to be any more than a paper champion.
The UFC has been trying it’s best to market this Welterweight bout as the biggest event we’ve seen in years, and potentially rightfully so. The division has become a little bit stale over the years with the complete and utter dominance that has been demonstrated by GSP. There is little excitement when watching a championship bout in the division, as the result has already been pre-ordained: GSP will win – and legitimately so.
The question now becomes, do either Carols Condit or Nick Diaz stand a chance of beating St. Pierre upon his return? Let’s look at each fighter and what they’ve accomplished:
Before his recent return to the UFC Nick Diaz ran through the elite in the Welterweight division of a number of promotions. Paul Daley, KJ Noons, Cyborg Santos, Scott Smith are just a few who fell to the well rounded game of Diaz. Unfortunately, these fighters when thrown into the UFC mix are B-level at best. Nick Diaz has yet to face an elite A-Level fighter in recent memory and win convincingly; his win against an under-trained and gassed out BJ Penn was lakclustre at best (and can BJ really be considered A-Level at WW?).
Carlos Condit has had what would seem like a long road to this point. He himself has fought a number of challenging competitors on his way to the top: Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy and most recently Dong Hyun Kim. Are the A-Level fighters? I think you could make the argument that Ellenberger and MacDonald are on the cusp of being considered so.
Based on these two resumes who has the best chance of beating GSP? My personal opinion is that neither fighter stands much of a chance, but I do give the edge to Condit. I think Condit is a smarter fighter. He has trained with GSP, and has one punch knockout power. Diaz has KO power as well, and a good ground game, but I think he loses out to Condit in the strength department – which will be a key asset when facing the true champion of the division.
Whoever does win, I can gaurentee that this Saturday will be an exciting fight. While in MMA anything can happen at any time, one of the few gaurentees is that a healthy GSP will dispatch of either of these fighters with ease. So, to whoever does win: enjoy your time on your paper pedastal, with your paper belt… to prove yourself the “champion” you must beat the title holder.
… and that is the last word.