Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Condit not interested in 'face-punching contest' but looking to bang with Diaz at UFC 143


source: John Morgan | mmajunkie.com

LAS VEGAS – Carlos Condit is impressed by Nick Diaz's vaunted boxing attack, but he's not going to shy away from a firefight in the main event of this weekend's UFC 143 event.

"Anybody that's seen me fight knows I like to scrap," Condit today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I like to step out there and give the fans a show. I like to keep it exciting. Every minute of the fight, I'm trying to finish my opponent. I think this is a great fight for the fans because Nick tries to so the same thing. He's always looking to finish, as well.

"I need to focus and stick to my gameplan, but part of that gameplan is getting in there and mixing it up."

Condit and Diaz headline the pay-per-view portion of this weekend's event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and the winner walks away as the UFC's interim welterweight champ.

Condit is certainly no stranger to striking, and his past two fights have each been awarded that evening's "Knockout of the Night." But Diaz has developed into a striking virtuoso in recent years, willing to stand in the pocket with everyone from B.J. Penn to Paul Daley to K.J. Noons to Scott Smith.

Condit said he knows he can't get reckless, but he's also not going to try and tone down his approach.


"It's going to be a war," Condit said. "But there's different kinds of wars. Of course I don't want to play into his game and sit there and have a face-punching competition with Nick Diaz, but that doesn't mean I can't get in there and throw down.

"He's a great standup fighter, but I think there's going to be some opportunities for me to take some advantage of some things I've seen."

Both fighters bring championship experience to the cage. Condit, of course, was the WEC welterweight champion and has gone 4-1 since migrating from the now-shuttered promotion. Similarly, Diaz was the Strikeforce champ and was victorious in his return to the UFC after nearly five years competing outside of the octagon.

That said, Condit believes this bout will provide his stiffest test to date.

"It's not just another fight," Condit said. "Diaz is the toughest guy that I've ever fought. It's the biggest fight of my life, the biggest fight of my career, but I feel good. Preparation for this fight went really well, and I'm just ready to go in there and fight to the best of my ability and hopefully walk away with the title belt."

UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will be cageside Saturday night, and he could potentially provide the winner's next opponent, depending on scheduling and his own recovery from knee surgery.

There has been some talk that UFC officials would actually prefer a Diaz win in order to allow the promotion to set up a grudge match with St-Pierre. Meanwhile, should Condit book a fight with St-Pierre, Greg Jackson would recuse himself from assisting either man so as not to interfere with past loyalties.

But Condit said he's not worried about those concerns. He's not bothered that St-Pierre is openly cheering for Diaz in order to book that fight. He's not even all that upset that the UFC's three-part "Primetime" series has seemed to focus more on Diaz and even St-Pierre than on him.

No, Condit insists he's not distracted by any of that talk. His lone focus is on the most important fighting moment of his life.

"I really feel like I'm coming into my prime right now," Condit said. "I've been at Greg Jackson's camp for the last two years, and I've had incredible training partners and incredible coaches. I really feel everything is coming together in my professional life and my personal life.

"I'm focused on Diaz. To have anything else in my mind, in my head at the time would be a mistake because I have my hands full. Diaz is the toughest guy I've ever fought, so I need to be 100 percent focused on the task at hand. All that other stuff, it really doesn't matter in the big scheme of things."