Monday, February 6, 2012

Champ Carlos Condit on UFC 143 win: In battles, 'you want to pick the battleground'


source: Steven Marrocco | mmajunkie.com

After watching his fight with Nick Diaz on Sunday, Carlos Condit changed his scorecard.

"During the fight, I felt like I won four out of the five rounds," he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I watched it yesterday, and it looked a little bit closer.

"I probably would have given Nick two (rounds) and myself three."

Only one of three judges present at the UFC 143 headliner agreed with Condit, and he (Junichiro Kamijo) scored the bout 48-47 in his favor. The remaining two (Cecil Peoples and Patricia Morse-Jarman) gave him four rounds to Diaz's one, 49-46, awarding him the UFC interim welterweight title.

UFC 143 took place this past Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Its main card aired live on pay-per-view while preliminary-card fights aired on FX and streamed on Facebook.

Almost instantly, the decision sparked debate over scoring in MMA.

According to statistical breakdowns of the fight, Condit (28-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC) outscored Diaz (27-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC) in total strikes and significant strikes. Yet those numbers failed to account for what was largely a hit-and-run attack as Diaz stalked forward with punches while Condit cut angles and countered with punches and kicks.


For those giving more weight to octagon control, many observers felt Condit lost the fight.

"I think it was a tough fight to call, a tough fight to judge, and a lot of those rounds were really close," he said.

Diaz goaded Condit on several occasions, waving his hands and mocking the former WEC champ's strikes. Condit said he was prepared for it, though he admitted there were a few times when he wanted to make the fight "a schoolyard scrap." He managed to resist and fight on.

Since his win, Condit has become familiar with critics who said he wasn't engaging enough during his 25 minutes with Diaz, but he stressed he was looking for a finish.

"When you fight a battle, you want to pick the battleground," he said. "Nick Diaz loves to back a guy up against the cage. For what I was trying to do in the fight, I wanted a little more range. I was wanting to fight in the middle of the cage. It was a constant battle of positioning in the cage.

"I was throwing with nothing but bad intentions. I was trying to put flying knees on his chin, trying to hit him with spinning back elbows. I was trying to finish the fight."

Diaz was not to be finished, but he did say he was done. At the announcement of Condit's win, which cleared the way for a title-unification fight with injured champ Georges St-Pierre, the former Strikeforce welterweight champ threw up his hands in disgust and shortly afterward told UFC commentator Joe Rogan he would retire.

"I don't need this [expletive]," Diaz said.

Diaz complained that Condit was running instead of fighting and added he would act as a training partner for his brother, UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, but would get in the octagon no more.

For his part, Condit said was employing a smart strategy and angry fans are entitled to their opinions. He said he was doing what he needed to do to win, and that involved getting out of the way when Diaz attempted to corner him.

"It's footwork," Condit said. "For fans that want to see two guys standing right in front of each other and beating each other's faces in, that's what they like to see. And a lot of times I fight like that. But this time, I employed a different strategy to get the win, and people have a problem with that."

Although Diaz still managed to connect with several power shots during the 25-minute fight, Condit said he was never hurt.

"On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I stung him a few times," he said, likely referring to a few punches and a headkicks that slapped Diaz's face.

Condit is doubtful that Diaz's decision will stick and thinks he'll soon "un-retire."

For now, the new champ has put on ice a highly anticipated meeting between Diaz and St-Pierre. Prior to this weekend's event, St-Pierre relished a meeting with the brash fighter, who called him out after beating B.J. Penn at UFC 137. The two were supposed to meet at UFC 143 before St-Pierre tore his ACL and in went Condit, who lost a promised fight with St-Pierre at UFC 137 when the undisputed champ was forced out of that event with another knee injury and stepped aside when Diaz went to the front of the line.

St-Pierre, who watched the UFC 143 headliner cageside, said he'd be ready to fight again in November after he recovers. That means Condit could be on the sidelines for another eight months.

"If they're saying November, I could deal with that," he said. "Any later than that, I would probably want to take another fight, maybe late summer or something."

While a rematch would certainly satisfy some unsatisfied fans, Condit believes there are others who deserve to be next, and he said he's agreeable to meeting two-time title challenger Josh Koscheck.

"Right now, I think that there are so many guys that are in line for the contender spot," he said. "You've got (Jake) Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez fighting for what's arguably a No. 1 contender spot, unofficially. But you know, I'd give Nick Diaz a rematch. Just maybe not right away."

Diaz's manager, Cesar Gracie, said via text he'll attempt to get his fighter to reconsider retirement.

"Not if I can help it," Gracie wrote when asked whether the decision is final.

While he waits, Condit will return to his gym at Jackson-Winkeljohn's MMA in his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., until he gets the UFC's call.

"It is what it is," he said of the controversy surrounding the fight. "Just because I employed this strategy this time doesn't mean that I'm not going to come straight forward and look for the kill next time."