Carlos Condit Works with Olympian Jake Herbert to Help Improve His Wrestling for UFC Fight Night 27

August 19, 2013
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Courtesy of Damon Martin and official content partner Bleacher Report.

Carlos Condit UFC 143Following a loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC 158, former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit decided to make wrestling a priority for his training camps going forward.

Hendricks beat Condit essentially because he was able to take him to the mat on 12 occasions during the fight. Condit out struck and out landed Hendricks in every round of the fight, but when the takedowns were factored in, the edge on the scoring went to his opponent.

It marked Condit’s second straight loss to opponents who more or less out wrestled him to get a decision victory. The other was his 2012 title fight defeat to Georges St-Pierre, where the Canadian consistently took Condit to the mat to avoid his striking on the feet.

Condit vowed after his loss in March to Hendricks that he was going to head home to New Mexico and dedicate himself to learning and understanding wrestling in a way he had never done before in any training camp.

“I’ve definitely been making it a priority,” Condit told content partner Bleacher Report about his wrestling game. “You can’t neglect your other skills and other aspects of the game, but wrestling is a big part of the reason I lost the last two fights so I need to really hit that hard, and I have been.”

Ironically enough, Condit’s next fight at UFC Fight Night 27 comes in a rematch against Martin Kampmann, who won their first bout based mostly on a series of takedowns and ground work. Kampmann is not typically known as a wrestler, but it didn’t stop him from repeatedly putting Condit on his back where he would have the best chance for victory.

To make sure there was no repeat of the first fight, Condit brought in several high profile grapplers to get him ready for Kampmann and any other fighter who tries to take him to the mat.

“I worked with some really, really good coaches,” Condit explained. “We have Izzy (Martinez), who has been a staple down at Jackson’s for a while, I’ve been working with Ricky Lundell, and then I’ve been working with a guy named Jake Herbert. I’ve definitely made some improvements and I’m excited to show what I’ve been working on.”

While the names Martinez and Lundell should sound familiar to most MMA fans (Martinez is Jon Jones and Clay Guida’s wrestling coach, and Lundell is an experienced grappler who has worked with fighters like Frank Mir and Joe Lauzon), the newest person to his mix is 2012 Olympian Jake Herbert.

As a former two-time NCAA champion, a four time All-American wrestler, and recipient of the Dan Hodge trophy for the best wrestler in the U.S., Herbert has all the credentials of to be considered one of the best grapplers in the world.

He has flirted with the idea of moving to MMA, and has now spent the last couple of months in New Mexico at Jackson’s MMA to help Condit with his wrestling. Whether training there bleeds over into Herbert’s own career goals is unknown, but his experience and teaching has been invaluable to Condit as he gets ready for his next fight and the future.

“He’s a really good coach,” Condit said about Herbert. “I brought in some good wrestlers in the past, but Jake, his coaching style is really, really good.”

Condit’s wrestling game has definitely gone under the microscope since his last two fights ended in losses, but he’s still a student of MMA and didn’t sacrifice other skills just for the sake of stopping a takedown.

The difference this time is Condit really brought focus on one of his weaker areas, and the result was not only improved wrestling, but a positive attitude for the successes he’s accomplished as he gets ready for his next fight on August 28.

“I think in a long time it is (the most positive),” Condit said. “I really didn’t take a whole lot of time off from the last one. I’ve been having a lot of fun this summer, been doing some fun stuff, having some me time, but I’ve also been making gains and working on things I needed to work on.

“So coming into camp I was already kind of ahead of the game. Instead of trying to play catch up or getting in shape for the first month, and then you’re getting into your game planning and your skills. I was already to go. There was no catch up.”

Condit hopes to display his new wrestling game along with the right kind of fire necessary to burn Kampmann in their rematch, and get his name back into title contention in the UFC.

Check out more UFC and MMA coverage from official content partner Bleacher Report and Damon Martin.

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  • Sir_Roy

    One of my favorite fighters. Also seems to be an all round great guy from what I’ve seen and heard from him over the years.

    A Condit who can keep his opponents standing, or take them where HE wants them, is a recipe for renewed title contention sooner rather than later. Pending how his fight with Kampmann goes, and how Hendricks fairs against GSP, I’d like to see a rematch with Hendricks then another run at the title. Or, hey, maybe his rematch with Hendricks WILL be a run for the title. But I ain’t holding my breath.

  • robc

    Now he works on wrestling??? He didn’t know in advance that GSP was going to ground and hump him for 5 rounds? Maybe he thought this was a GSP that was interested in finishing fighters… Same goes with Hendrix. Despite his KO power, he is a wrestler and will revert to that if getting lit up. Condit should have been focusing on his wrestling before coming to the UFC. The 170 division is full of wrestlers, GSP, Hendricks, Koscheck, Kampmann, Ellenberger and McDonald all have a wrestling base. Other than Diaz and Maia (who has shown judo takedowns recently), everyone he will be fighting is going to have a big advantage in the wrestling area.

    • Sir_Roy

      Problem with your post is GSP did NOT “ground and hump him” for 5 rounds. GSP and Carlos won fight of the night in fact.

      Tired of those dumb, blanket comments. It’s like folks are too interested in criticizing at the detriment of looking at fights and the sport intelligently – accounting for what actually happened.

      Condit sagely knew GSP taking him down was inevitable, simply because it is. Some of the best wrestlers in the sport couldn’t prevent it, how should he expect to despite? Carlos smartly worked on his BJJ and bottom position. And it showed. Just wasn’t enough. Now that he’s been through it with GSP, I’m sure he has a far, far better idea what to prep for and how.

      • Hugh Shakeshaft

        UFC needs to reconsider how it scores takedowns. I’m not saying GSP wasn’t active on top, but who landed more strikes while on the ground? Who was executing an offense? Those considerations should go into how takedowns are scored.

        • Sir_Roy

          While I agree with the necessity for a take down point scoring revision, the answer to both your subsequent questions remains GSP – so he would have won a strong unanimous decision whichever way the judges chose to score his take downs.

      • robc

        So Sir_Roy you state that GSP did not ground Condit and yet later state Condit knew GSP was going to take him down and worked from the “bottom” position. How exactly did Condit get on the bottom? Because GSP took him down… repeatedly. I don’t recall GSP being even close to finishing Condit anywhere in the fight (in fact Condit had the only decent hit in the fight). It’s not a blanket comment when it is fact. I’ve seen every GSP fight in the UFC and his style has changed dramatically since he won the belt a second time. GSP has realized that he has a top notch take down and utilizes that to control fights and retain his belt. He doesn’t take chances but rather fights smart and conservatively. This in a fan’s opinion makes him boring as hell to watch.

        • Sir_Roy

          No. I stated that GSP does not just lay and hump. He executes a great stand-up game, coupled with take downs, effectively neutralizing the submission game of one of the most dangerous and recognized ground specialists in the division while holding top control and landing more significant strikes.

          How often has Carlos been finished I ask you? Or any of GSP’s opponents at the time he fought them for that matter. Right then.

          Here’s the tally of their fight;

          St-Pierre: 71 of 132 on significant strikes, 172 of 237 of total strikes, successful on seven of eight takedowns.

          Condit: 36 of 148 on significant strikes, 190 of 232 total strikes, one successful reversal on the mat.

          Notice GSP doubled significant strikes landed (especially in the stand-up). That’s what I mean when I chide you for silly blanket comments that reek of ill formed opinion and little else. While I agree GSP is a smart fighter, which can lead to lackluster fights (i.e. Diaz) and has seen him take his title defenses to decision in arguably the most stacked division in the game right now. But if you call his fight with Condit boring, then seriously dude, you’re opinion is absolutely meaningless anyway.

      • taylor2008

        I like GSP but thats exactly what he does. He takes people and lays on them. Throws a few punches and elbows here and there. When was the last time GSP took someone out? No KOs for a long time and no submissions for a long time.
        Ground and hump was a funny quote.

        • Sir_Roy

          No. He does not simply take people down and “lay on them”. When was the last time anyone had taken any one of GSP’s opponents “out” at the time he fought them (i.e. at the top of their respective games)?

          Ground and hump “might” have been humorous the first thousand times it was used … now it’s just tired and pointlessly critical.

          • taylor2008

            I watch all of his fights and thats almost what he does. GSP is one of my favorite fighters but he is rather boring. I think GSP knows the Hendricks can KO him. I think Hendricks will KO GSP.

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    Better late than never Condit. Pursue wrestling until you’re a GSP nightmare.

  • Kbroesq

    I wonder if Condit could make 155. He’s a tall guy, but a lot of guys over 6 feet are making 155 these days, especially with a frame like Condit.

    It’s good he’s working on his wrestling, but he’s always going to be one of the skinnier fighters, and I don’t think he should bulk up because he uses the fact that he’s skinny to the best of his ability. He’s fast, doesn’t gas, and most importantly (Save GSP) can usually pop up immediately if he’s taken down.

    Just a thought.