Can Carlos Condit Beat Georges St. Pierre?
November 17th will hail a moment that many MMA fans have been waiting for. It has less to do with the welterweight championship belt being on the line as much as it does with the return of Georges St. Pierre to prove that he is still the top welterweight fighter in the world. His challenge? Carlos Condit.
Carlos Condit is a fighter that was written off months ago as a stepping stone for Nick Diaz at UFC 143. Nick Diaz was seen as the last interesting test for St. Pierre at 170 lbs, and pre-fight hype between the Stockton native and the French Canadian stalwart had already begun to build. To the dismay of many, including the UFC brass, Condit went on to fight a technically superior battle to defeat the scrappy former Strikeforce champion (Diaz). The spoils of war meant an interim welterweight championship belt for Condit, and a guaranteed title shot upon St. Pierre’s return.
With the title bout between St. Pierre and Condit quickly encroaching upon us (November 17th), people are taking a serious look at the interim champion to evaluate if he really has a chance to beat GSP.
To say that Condit stands no chance against St. Pierre before a single second on the fight clock has registered would be ignorant. In fact, in my opinion, Condit probably has a much better chance of beating St. Pierre than Diaz ever did (or does). Carlos has faced some stiff competition in the welterweight division; his losses have been close, his victories often decisive (even when they have gone to decision). Take a look at his record since entering the UFC alone: 6-1. I know what you’re thinking: “I could be 6-1 in the UFC depending on the level of competition I’ve faced”. Well, Condit has definitely faced some of the divisions finest, Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Dyong Hyun Kim, Dan Hardy and of course let’s not forget Diaz. His arm has been raised against each of them – and not always in decision.
Condit has shown an impressive ability, at times, to be able to finish off his opponents. One of the best examples I like to bring up is his impressive KO victory against a man GSP couldn’t finish, Dan Hardy. His comeback victory against Rory MacDonald was devastating display of how deep his tank is and how diverse his toolbox is. Prior to his recent fight against Nick Diaz, Condit clocked two “Knock-Out of the Night” honours.
Is that to say GSP could just take Condit to the ground and have his way with him, like he does everyone else? Not necessarily. In Carlos’ seven fights prior to joining the UFC, in Pancrase and the WEC, five of those fights ended in a submission victory for Condit (the other two fights ended in a KO victory for Condit).
Let’s not forget the coaching variable in this match-up; both fighters are products of Greg Jackson. Jackson fighters are not always known for the most exciting fights, but no one can deny that Jackson is a master tactician. Part of the reason Diaz was beaten by Condit, was that Carlos had a sound game plan that he followed to the letter the entire fight.
Now that we’ve established that Condit is a multi-disciplned fighter who always comes in with a solid game plan, we have to answer the question: Can Condit come out with his arm raised at UFC 154 in Montreal on November 17th?
The easy answer, and more importantly the right answer, is: no. Condit feels to me like an underdeveloped GSP; he has a lot of the same tools, they’re just not on the same level. Condit has faced stiff competition, but still not on the same consistent level as St. Pierre.
St. Pierre is coming off extensive rehab, but one thing any fan of GSP knows is that he trains like no other in the world. The only factor that could be a question mark for St. Pierre is whether or not his gas tank will still have the same depth after not having been used for so long. I am quite confident that GSP will come into this fight trained like no other; he learned after his loss to Serra that you can never take an opponent for granted, and I assume his attitude will be no less against Condit.
One other important factor playing in the French Canadians favour is hometown advantage. The first UFC event I saw live was UFC 83 in Montreal, and still have a hard time describing the electricity in the air when St. Pierre came out (let alone when he regained the title) – it surpasses any other live event that I have ever seen in terms of crowd engagement. Let’s also not forget that he still needs to prove to everyone that he is the best – the mental game will be a huge advantage for GSP. St. Pierre has danced on the championship stage many times before, this will really be Condit’s first time of the big stage. Never underestimate the mental game in MMA.
I know this fight will be an exciting one, despite the fact that it will go five rounds. St. Pierre will leave with his arm raised, and the Montreal fans will cheer like they never have. With the prospects of no Montreal Canadiens hockey in the foreseeable future they need something! My hat off to Condit for stepping in for execution, for in my opinion they should forgo an entrance song and just have Bruce Buffer yell: “Dead man walking!!!”
… and don’t forget to check me out on “Outside the Octagon” on Last Word Radio Friday nights at 9p.