The list of welterweight contenders left for UFC champion Georges St-Pierre to face is starting to dwindle, but two of those on the list will battle this weekend at UFC 132.
Former WEC champion Carlos Condit had one stumbling block when he first came to the promotion, a close split decision loss to Martin Kampmann, but has since reeled off four wins in a row. The last culminated in a knockout win over former title contender Dan Hardy last year.
Condit now faces possibly his toughest test to date in the Octagon from Korean jukoka Dong Hyun Kim, and it’s for that very reason that he believes with a win, a title shot can’t be far away.
“If I can put an impressive win together against Kim, you know finish him, which I intend to do, I think that makes a great case for giving me the title shot,” Condit told MMAWeekly Radio.
“Kim is a pretty monumental task and that’s really what I’m focusing on right now.”
If styles make fights, the match-up between Condit and Kim is especially intriguing.
Condit has been very open about facing wrestlers that have a tendency to take him down and hold him there, like what happened in his 2006 fight in Hawaii against current UFC contender Jake Shields. Time and time again, Shields took Condit to the mat, and he was stuck there like a turtle overturned on its shell.
That was a long time ago though according to Condit, who believes he’s made the necessary adjustments to his game to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“When I fought Jake, I was maybe 21 years old, walking around at around 170, and in the past six years I’ve been on a consistent strength and conditioning program. So my athleticism has improved dramatically, and I’m definitely going to be a lot harder to hold down than I used to be,” Condit stated.
To get ready for the battle ahead with Kim, Condit worked at Team Jackson/Winklejohn in New Mexico like he has for his past few fights. At the gym on any given day, Condit is sparring with any number of top notch fighters including names like Diego Sanchez and Nate Marquardt.
Sanchez is of course now in Condit’s same weight class, so it brings up the obvious question of the classic teammate vs. teammate debate that exists in the fight world.
Sparring and training with a fighter each and every day tends to create a bond that most competitors are unwilling to break if the UFC or any promotion wanted to put them in the cage together for a real contest. Condit, however, is not one of those fighters who would shy away from fighting a teammate.
“For me, I focus on getting better that day really. If I have somebody of that caliber there training with me, I try to take full advantage. Try to learn and improve. I think at this level we all realize that come fight night if we ever did get matched up, it really is anybody’s fight. Everybody is dangerous, everybody has a lot of tools, and I think it really is who shows up that night,” said Condit.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that it’s not going to be tough to fight someone who I consider a friend and a teammate, cause it is. But we’re here to become champions, right? We’re not here to make friends.”
There is still a long road before Condit would even have to make those kinds of decisions, but right now the path leads to UFC 132 and Dong Hyun Kim. A win puts Condit right in line to challenge the winner of the upcoming bout between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz. A loss puts him… well, Condit would rather look at the winning scenario.
Carlos Condit squares off against Dong Hyun Kim on the main card of UFC 132 this weekend in Las Vegas.