Georges St-Pierre (22-2) returns to the octagon after a lay-off of 567 days to face the interim champion, Carlos Condit (28-5), at UFC 154 in Montreal, Canada. Despite already establishing himself as the best welterweight on the planet, this fight will be the biggest and most difficult of his distinguished career. More important than his treble with Matt Hughes. More important than his battles with BJ Penn.
And the reason for that is simple. This fight more than any other will define GSP’s place in history.
The Challenger – Carlos Condit
Carlos Condit came into the UFC via the acquired WEC, where he ran rampant over mainly 2nd tier competition en route to a WEC welterweight belt with three title defenses. After transitioning to the UFC with a close split decision loss to Martin Kampmann (14-2) at UFC Fight Night, Condit recovered impressively with a 5-fight win streak.
And not just a win streak. He’s beaten the elite in the division – Jake Ellenberger (21-4), Rory MacDonald (10-0), Dan Hardy (23-7), Dong-Hyun Kim (14-0, 1 NC), and even Nick Diaz (26-7). These are top prospects and seasoned veterans at the peak of their powers. It would be hard to find another fighter on GSP’s resume with a more notable list of victims in their recent past.
But it is more than just who he beat. It is how he beat them. A TKO against the rising star MacDonald, a first round knockout of British slugger Hardy and another against world class grappler Kim. Amazingly, Condit has 13 wins by KO and another 13 wins by submission. That speaks volumes of a well-rounded game, a fighter that is just comfortable on his feet as he is on the canvas. No weaknesses. There’s only a couple of other fighters in the division that can boast such a flawless acumen.
GSP is one. Nick Diaz is the other.
It is the Nick Diaz fight in particular that proves without a doubt that Condit will be the greatest challenge of GSP’s career, perhaps only surpassed in the near future in a proposed super fight with Anderson Silva.
Against Diaz, Condit earned a controversial decision and the interim belt. Condit was known as a fearless striker with an eagerness to trade shots with his opponent. With Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn in his corner, Condit added another element to his game. The one element that even Nick Diaz is missing. Strategy. For the entire fight, Condit controlled distance with leg jabs and out-pointed Diaz to the point of utter frustration for the Stockton native.
Diaz cursed. He slapped. He taunted.
And in the face of it all, Condit never blinked. He doggedly stuck to his game plan, a strategy so perfectly tailored to the trends in MMA judging and to Diaz in particular that many fans felt like he jobbed the rules, that he won the fight without fighting.
Only GSP has shown the ability to dominate on the feet, dominate on the ground, AND dominate tactically. Now he faces a man of similar pedigree. A man that is younger, bigger, and stronger.
A man that is fully healthy.
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