September 24, 2009

by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com
Former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit has now officially nabbed his first win inside the Octagon. One of the prizes of the WEC, there was a lot of hype upon Condit’s original foray into the organization, when he headlined UFC Fight Night 18 this past April opposite of Xtreme Couture’s Martin Kampann, losing a close split-decision.

His most recent performance, another split-decision, this time in the New Mexico native’s favor, would prove to be one of Condit’s toughest test’s to date. He took on veteran Jake Ellenberger, whose list of victims read legend Jose Landi-Jons and UFC veterans Zach Light and Gil Castillo, all by way of knockout.

At UFC Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City, Okla., the bout turned for the worst early for Condit as the hard-nosed Ellenberger came out gun slinging right away, dropping the former champ on two separate occasions in the opening round.

“I didn’t really stick to my game plan. I was expecting him to go out and start throwing big right’s (hands) and that’s what he did and that’s what he caught me with. It wasn’t too unexpected, but he was able to capitalize,” said Condit while speaking with MMAWeekly.com.

“I was pretty hurt. It was more that I got smashed right in my eye. It was more from the pain from eye getting smashed that dropped me more than having my bell rung, but I was pretty rocked.”

After dropping the first round and gaining back some momentum in the second, where Condit was able to mount Ellenberger while working for submissions of his own, the third round would prove to be the deciding factor. He knew what needed to be done and showed what being a champion is all about, belt or no belt on the line.

“Going into the third I was just kind of thinking back to my fight against Kampann right before, and that’s kind of where I lost that fight,” said Condit.

“After surviving that first round, after I made it through that round, I told myself that I’m going to win this fight no matter what and just push that pace as hard as I can. I was in really good shape going into this fight and that definitely paid off.

“I was trying to pound him out. I was pissed for getting stuck in the eye earlier in the fight, so I wanted to make him pay.”

Though the 25-year-old was able to pick up the win in his second try in the UFC, questions still arise. The general public remembers Condit’s wars in the WEC, finishing all five of his opponents with his five fights with the promotion, three of which were title defenses. Though maybe some fans have become spoiled, the question now, after having gone to back-to-back split decisions, where’s that ‘killer’ instinct?

“Sometimes if you fought a dude 10 times it’s not always going to be the same outcome,” said the Arizona Combat Sports fighter.

“Some of those guys that if I fought in the WEC again, I might end up going to a decision with them or having more of a war than I did. It’s all any given night as to how somebody performs. I definitely have to get back on my ‘killing ways,’ but I think that this was a decent performance, but I can definitely see room for improvement.”

In the end, Condit is only concerned with putting on a good show. It’s the fans that he allows the power to measure the level of success he reaches through the wars he puts himself in.

“If people were entertained and we put on a good show, which I feel that we did, then it’s a good fight. Even if I didn’t look great the whole time, we put on a great show and that’s what matters.”

Hoping to get back in the Octagon sooner than later, it’s now a whole new type of battle that the father-to-be will have to endure. No gloves, no mouth guard, just diapers and whaling screams in the middle of the night is what’s next on his plate.

“Me and my girl have a baby on the way and I think that I’d definitely like to get a fight before the baby comes so I can probably, maybe take a little bit of time off after.”