by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com
Former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit is set to return to the Octagon when he takes on newcomer Jake Ellenberger on Sept. 16 at UFC Fight Night 19, in Oklahoma City, Okla.
He enters this fight on the heels of an exciting split decision loss to Xtreme Couture’s Martin Kampmann this past April (marking his first loss in a near three-year stretch). Condit will look to rectify his position among the best in his class with a win over Ellenberger, who is as tough as they come, sporting a 21-4 record with wins over Jose Landi-Jons, Pat Healy, and Gil Castillo.
None-the-less, the loss to Kampann was still hard on the “Natural Born Killer.”
“It was pretty tough because I really felt that it was so close; it was a razor-edge decision and I feel like if I had done just a little bit more I could have pulled it out,” said Condit to the MMAWeekly radio crew. “So it was a little bit tough to swallow, but it just gives me some motivation for my next fight.”
Though the name recognition isn’t there for Ellenberger, who is a late replacement for respected veteran Chris Lytle, Condit is training just as hard in order to deliver another solid “Mad Max” performance.
“I hadn’t heard of him, but I’m not an MMA genius and I don’t know all the guys, so it doesn’t mean he’s not tough or well known,” said Condit. “I did have to get on the Internet and check him, but from what I’ve seen he’s pretty good.
“We’re all training hard. It’s been like thunder-dome down at the gym, so I think we’re well prepared.”
Prior to the bout with Kampann, Condit had made the conscious decision to move away from his New Mexico surroundings for a chance to train with Arizona Combat Sports, which houses some of the best wrestling affiliated athletes in the sport today, including UFC veterans Ryan Bader, C.B. Dollaway, and Aaron Simpson.
Many credit initial losses of UFC newcomers to the “UFC jitters.”
Having gone through his debut (let alone headlining an event at that), Condit is now geared up and ready to go for his next showing, hoping to expel any memories of the loss.
“It’s a pretty big thing doing your UFC debut and I was pretty nervous going into the fight,” said the 25-year-old. “A couple of days before I was pretty nervous, but as soon as I got out there and got in front of the crowd I just felt the same, just another fight. It felt good to hear the crowd roar and as for my next fight, I don’t feel as nervous. I got that first one out of the way and now I’m just ready to go.”
Though the UFC debut might get the best of most fighters, Condit isn’t anticipating Ellenberger would come out to fight half-heartedly. He’s just looking forward to doing what he and the fans have become accustomed to, another Condit-like performance, which win or lose promises to be exciting.
“I think 80 percent of this game is mental, if not more, and I’m not going to bank on that. I know that Ellenberger is a very, very tough guy and I’m expecting a war.
“I’m sure he intends to knock me out, I got a pretty similar plan as well so he can run his mouth, but we’re going to find out what’s up.”