by Ken Pishna
Carlos Condit has been steadily building a successful career over the past couple of years in the Rocky Mountain Region and the Southwestern United States. Under the guidance of Tom and Arlene Vaughn, he is a part of F.I.T. (Fighters In Training), one of the hottest up and coming fight teams in the country.
Carlos has a well-rounded, extremely aggressive style that, besides pleasing crowds, seems to be custom tailored to destroying opponents. On October 2nd, Carlos steps travels to Japan to take another big step forward in his career as he faces Pancrase’s number one ranked welterweight contender Satoru Kitaoka.
Not many fans across the world know the name Carlos Condit, but they will soon enough. Before he left for Japan, Carlos sat down with MMAWeekly’s Ken Pishna to talk about his steadily building career, his fight this weekend, and where he’s headed.
MMAWEEKLY: Carlos, you’ve been tearing up the mixed martial arts scene in the Rocky Mountain Region, particularly at Ring of Fire, and in the Southwest, but how did you get your start in MMA? What sparked your interest?
CARLOS CONDIT: I started wrestling when I was like 9 and did that through middle school and high school. My coaches used to watch the UFC, they’d get the videos, and it always looked like the wrestlers won and I said, “Hey, I could do that.”
I got with Tom and Arlene Vaughn when I was about 15. My wrestling career kind of got cut short because I flunked out of school, but fortunately I got hooked up with the MMA thing and I’ve been doing that ever since.
MMAWEEKLY: And how old are you now?
MMAWEEKLY: So, you’ve been fighting for quite a while now?
MMAWEEKLY: How many fights do you have?
CARLOS: I believe that I have 17 fights.
MMAWEEKLY: And what’s your overall record?
CARLOS: I’m 16-1.
MMAWEEKLY: 16-1. And how’d you end up with that 1?
CARLOS: I fought Carlo Prater, who’s a pretty tough guy, a real formidable opponent. No excuses, hats off to the guy, he’s an awesome, excellent competitor, but I think that I didn’t bring my “A” game to the table that day and some personal things were going on. That stuff can definitely affect you in the ring if your head’s not in the right spot.
MMAWEEKLY: Outside of Carlo, who would be your toughest fight?
CARLOS: They flew this guy out from Japan, Masaki Tuchii, a great ankle submission guy and he was all over my ankles and he twisted me up, but I was able to roll out and kick him in the head which is my style: stay out of submissions and pound ‘em.
MMAWEEKLY: Talking about your style, how would you describe it to people who don’t know you?
CARLOS: Come game day, I’m ready to go. I’m going to knock ‘em out or tap ‘em out. I’m just real aggressive. As far as my style, I’m a mixed martial artist. I love to box and kickbox. I went to Thailand for a month just recently and trained with the Thais out there and also, I come from a wrestling background. I love to wrestle.
MMAWEEKLY: You have a very well-rounded style and most of the fighters that you train with at F.I.T. (Fighters In Training) seem to be well-rounded. Is that a testament to the coaching and training that you get at F.I.T. with Tom Vaughn?
CARLOS: Absolutely. Tom Vaughn is a technician on the ground and standing. His wife, Arlene, is an amazing up-fighting coach for kickboxing and boxing. She was a North American champion, a U.S. champion; she’s amazing.
MMAWEEKLY: Now, besides MMA, you’ve also competed in professional boxing and went to Japan to do Shootboxing right?
CARLOS: Yeah, I did fight for Shootbox. I did some amateur boxing and I really enjoyed that. Then, once I started doing MMA, I went pro right away. So, I couldn’t do the amateur boxing anymore, so I went and did the pro boxing. I had a good time. I like to box a lot, but it’s a different taste than MMA.
MMAWEEKLY: So, you prefer to fight MMA?
CARLOS: Oh, absolutely.
MMAWEEKLY: Right now, not too many people outside of the Rocky Mountain and Southwestern regions know too much about you. If you could pick one fighter that is already fighting on an international level and is in the limelight, which fighter would you choose if you could fight anyone in an attempt to get your name out there?
CARLOS: Georges St. Pierre. I definitely have a long way to go before I’m at this caliber, but I think as far as style-wise, maybe Georges St. Pierre.
MMAWEEKLY: You have a fight coming up this Sunday, October 2nd, right?
CARLOS: Yeah. I’m fighting Satoru Kitaoka in Pancrase. He’s the number one welterweight contender.
MMAWEEKLY: How many times have you been to Japan?
CARLOS: I’ve been there once. I fought the Shootbox champ, Andy Sauer. It was my first kickboxing match. I went five rounds with him. They ended up calling the fight with 17 seconds to go. I had taken a lot of leg kicks and I was falling through the ropes. I was exhausted. It was a different caliber of fight than I was used to being in.
MMAWEEKLY: Not too bad against the champ, huh?
CARLOS: I had my hands full. I think that I gave him a run for his money, but I’ve grown exponentially since that fight.
MMAWEEKLY: Going back to Japan now, sometimes it’s tough to get information on some of the fighters. What do you know about Kitaoka?
CARLOS: We actually do know a little bit. One of our fighters, Thomas Schulte, actually fought him recently. My trainer’s seen him fight. It was a short fight, but from what he gathered, we’re working on some things. We just have to train as hard as we can.
MMAWEEKLY: So, how do you think you match up?
CARLOS: Kitaoka’s a really good grappler, a short, stocky guy like 5’6″ and I’m 6’2″. It’s going to be striker versus grappler, but I know how to grapple pretty well, too; so hopefully that will give me the edge. If I can keep it on the feet, I know that I have the advantage. If I can keep it on the feet for any length of time, I know I can knock him out.
MMAWEEKLY: It seems your career has been steadily building, I mean, you are 16-1 now. Where do you see your career heading?
CARLOS: Hopefully I can win this fight. It’s a great opportunity toward bigger things; maybe compete for the title in Pancrase. I think this is just the start. Maybe I’ll get to fight out in Japan for a while and, hopefully, break into the mainstream here [in the United States]. I’d like to break into the big leagues: the UFC, Pride, Bushido; I think I can go all the way.
MMAWEEKLY: For those fans out there that don’t know you, what would you say to them about Carlos Condit?
MMAWEEKLY: …that you’re not the cocky fighter that I said you were? [laughs]
CARLOS: Well, you know what, in the ring, yeah… I wouldn’t call it cocky, but as hard as I train and as much as I believe in myself because I know the skills that I possess, I’m very confident. Tom said that you had said that I look at my opponent like they don’t belong in the ring with me. Maybe looking at it statistically, on paper, yeah, we match up, but anybody that steps in the ring with me, I think that I’m better than [them].
MMAWEEKLY: Is that something that helps you to be a successful fighter?
CARLOS: Yeah, it’s just how I compete. Some guys get real calm, some guys meditate or whatever, this is what I do in my head to get myself straight.
MMAWEEKLY: As we wrap it up, any final words?
CARLOS: Just watch for me, I’m going to be doing big things. You guys like the way Duane Ludwig fights, knocking people out all the time, I possess some of the same skills.