It’s been three days since Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz to claim the UFC interim welterweight title, but the debate continues to rage on about how the fight was scored, and if the two fighters should square off in a rematch at some point later this year.
The judges scoring the fight saw it 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 all in favor of Carlos Condit.
Condit’s manager, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, saw the fight much the same as the judges did. He’s not really sure where all the controversy is coming from.
“I saw the fight 4 rounds to 1. Realistically speaking, people talk about Octagon control and saying Carlos ran. I didn’t see Carlos run whatsoever. What I saw was Carlos stick and move and then he flurried. Whenever Carlos was up against the cage and what Nick wants to do is push his opponents up against the cage, and Carlos got out of there. He got back to the center of the Octagon, reset, and began striking again,” Kawa told MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday.
“It was a perfect game plan by him and it was executed to the fullest. When I was watching the fight, I saw Carlos winning all of the rounds. When I went back and watched the fight again and re-looked at it, I thought maybe Diaz in round 2, but it’s one of those things where it’s a toss-up round.”
According to FightMetric, Condit outlanded Diaz 151 to 105 in significant strikes, and 159 to 117 in total strikes. The round by round breakdown supports the scoring as well, where Condit outlanded Diaz in every round, except the second, where Diaz outpaced him 32-29 in significant strikes.
The uproar from the Diaz camp is understandable according to Kawa, who would probably be just as upset if Condit had lost in such a pivotal and important fight for his career. The unfortunate side is that Condit’s moment in the sun has been tarnished by the debate about the decision, instead of celebrating what many have said was brilliant strategy to defeat Diaz at UFC 143.
“Listen, Nick Diaz is up in arms, Cesar Gracie is up in arms, and I understand that, you want to win, it’s a championship fight. That’s what you’re in this business for and I can appreciate all the passion and support for those guys. Believe it or not, I’m a fan of Nick Diaz. I like the Diaz brothers; I like the way they fight. I think they’re true fighters and good for the sport, but when you look at it, Carlos Condit won that fight. Two judges scored it 4 rounds to 1, one judge scored it 3 to 2, it wasn’t a split decision; it was a unanimous decision across the board,” said Kawa.
“If this was football we’d be calling Greg Jackson, Tom Coughlin and Carlos Condit, Eli Manning. The point of what I’m saying is every sport, every competition, every battle, in the art of war they don’t tell you to go send your stronger guys out and hopefully they’ll beat their stronger guys. There’s strategy to everything.”
Now that Condit has defeated Diaz to become the new interim UFC welterweight champion, there is a strategy involved in what’s next as well.
Kawa and his team know that the big fight on the horizon for Condit is a showdown with UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. He also knows that a rematch between Condit and Diaz can happen down the road, it’s just not the next fight on the docket.
“That rematch can happen later on in the future. No one’s afraid of Nick, but we have to do what’s best for his career and in my opinion and the people around me and the advice that we’ve been taking, the best fight and the only fight is Georges St-Pierre,” Kawa stated.
All the talk before the fights at UFC 143 took place was about St-Pierre’s extreme desire to face Diaz at some point later this year when he recovers from knee surgery. The attention was so deafening, Condit’s place in the fight almost became an afterthought.
Condit knew he had the opportunity of a lifetime, and like the New York Giants spoiling the New England Patriots’ perfect season in 2007, the “Natural Born Killer” was more than happy to foil GSP’s plans of facing Nick Diaz.
So now the question remains: will St-Pierre be as motivated to face Condit? Does he really even want to face Condit?
“Georges St-Pierre didn’t want that fight when it was first announced. He doesn’t want the fight now and that’s the biggest problem in this whole equation. Georges St-Pierre called Carlos Condit the tougher fight for him, but then turns around and says he only wants to fight Nick Diaz. So it’s like you’re insulting Nick by saying that. Nick’s a tough fighter, whereas I do agree that Carlos Condit would be the tougher fight for him. It seems like he’s avoiding fighting Carlos Condit someway, somehow,” Kawa said.
“I don’t think Georges St-Pierre fears anyone. I don’t think Georges St-Pierre worries about anyone, but is Carlos Condit a guy that brings a different set of skills? Yeah. Has he fought anyone that hits as hard as Carlos Condit? I don’t think so. We saw Georges take a hit on his jaw and we saw what happened. We know Carlos can throw flying knees and he can throw kicks, spinning elbows, and all this stuff. He can go to his back and not be threatened, and he can threaten from the bottom. I think he poses a lot of real threats to Georges.”
Knowing that there is such a monumental match-up waiting in the wings for Condit to face St-Pierre, Kawa believes that’s the only fight that makes sense right now. It unifies the welterweight title, and it gives Condit the shot to become the true No. 1 fighter in the world by beating the seemingly unbeatable Georges St-Pierre.
“The one fight that makes the most sense for Carlos Condit’s career is Georges St-Pierre. The money that he’s going to make in that fight, he’s not going to make in any other fight. As much as I personally would love for him to go out there and beat Nick Diaz a second time, I can’t see myself sitting here telling him it’s the best thing for him. I think he won the first fight, I think he’d win a second fight again,” said Kawa.
“Carlos Condit has been the No. 1 contender for some time now, and he needs to fight Georges St-Pierre to prove who is the real champion. The fact is if he beats Georges St-Pierre, then him and Nick can fight again. Eventually they’re all going to fight each other and right now we have to do what’s best for Carlos’ career.”