It’s a slippery slope in the fight world. When a champion goes down due to injury, what does the challenger do? Should he stay on the card and take a short-notice change in opposition, risking his status as the top challenger, or should he sit on the sidelines and wait for the champ to return?
Such was the question posed to Carlos Condit on Tuesday when UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre had to back out of their UFC 137 title showdown due to a knee injury. UFC president Dana White announced St-Pierre’s withdrawal via his official Twitter account.
Rashad Evans opted to wait for his shot at then-light heavyweight titleholder Mauricio “Shogun” Rua when Rua fell out due to injury. That decision produced disastrous results. After waiting for several months, Evans fell out of the bout due to injury. His life then took numerous twists and turns when then-teammate Jon Jones took his place, winning the belt and dissolving their friendship. He vowed never to wait again, and didn’t when Jones fell out of a proposed fight between the two at UFC 133. Evans went on to defeat Tito Ortiz on that card.
Junior dos Santos immediately took a different road when UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was sidelined. The Brazilian slotted in as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter and then fought Shane Carwin to maintain his No. 1 contender status while Velasquez rehabbed his injury. Velasquez and dos Santos now will fight as the main event of the first UFC on Fox event.
For better or for worse, Condit is opting to wait for his title shot. Obviously, it could go the way of the Evans vs. Shogun match-up, a constant slide away from the belt, or he could be waiting for just a few months, get his title shot, and possibly walk off with the gold around his waist.
Always at the ready, fellow Top 10 welterweight Josh Koscheck offered to step in for GSP on only one-and-a-half weeks notice. Appreciative of the offer, White tweeted, “We will sit Carlos to wait for GSP. It’s looking so far like he could be ready in a couple months. Still early to tell though.”
Given that timeframe, it is difficult to faulting Condit for waiting. Title shots don’t fall into your lap every day.
“I’m super disappointed,” Condit told MMAWeekly.com, “Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the sport. I’m going to continue training and hopefully Georges and I can fight before the end of the year.”
The end of the year may be a difficult call depending on the seriousness of St-Pierre’s injury, but White’s statement seems to back the belief that GSP isn’t expected to be out for an extended period of time.
It’s an unfortunate loss for the fans that were looking forward to a card topped with St-Pierre vs. Condit and BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz. UFC 137, according to White, will now feature Penn vs. Diaz in a three-round non-title affair as the main event.