Click below for the UFC 143 Main Event report
LAS VEGAS, February 4 – Georges St-Pierre longs to punish the only fighter he hates. But instead of facing bitter rival Nick Diaz for the UFC welterweight title, GSP must now mentally prepare to battle a teammate of sorts in Carlos Condit.
With GSP watching cageside, Condit uncharacteristically and methodically danced and kicked his way to a unanimous decision victory over Diaz Saturday night in the UFC 143 main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The triumph earned Condit the UFC interim welterweight title, and he will meet St-Pierre for the belt sometime later this year depending on St. Pierre’s pending recovery from a torn ACL.
“It was pretty sweet. My coaches and teammates prepared me for this fight,” said Condit, the former World Extreme Cagefighting champ who pushed his record to 28-6. “I did what they told me to do and it carried me to victory. Hats off to Nick Diaz. He’s a warrior. I’ve got nothing but respect for how he fights.”
Regarding his future date with GSP, who trains at Tri-Star in Montreal under Firas Zahabi but who has also trained extensively with Condit trainer Greg Jackson, Condit had this to say:
“It is an honor. Georges is a guy I’ve looked up to since I was young and before I was in the UFC. I’m completely honored.”
Diaz, who stalked Condit nearly all of the fight and had his moments with combinations – including an impressive 8 or 9-punch combo to Condit’s body in round two – surprised everyone in the post-fight interview, effectively announcing his retirement at the relatively tender age of 28.
“I’m not going to accept the fact this was a loss,” said Diaz (27-8), who hadn’t lost in over four years. “I’ve lost fights before…but that (decision) ain’t right. I pushed him back the whole fight, I walked him back …Carlos is a great guy. I think I’m done with this MMA ... I had some fun. I don’t need this s---. I pushed this guy backward the whole fight. He kicked me with little baby leg kicks the whole fight. I don’t want to fight this way anymore. I’m out of this s---.”
Diaz had made things very interesting late in the final round when he took Condit down, took his back and tried for a rear naked choke.
To chants of “Diaz! Diaz!” the usually ultra-aggressive Condit came out in the first round way more mobile than usual, firing away with leg kicks.
In the second half of the round, however, Diaz, ever-stalking and now verbally taunting, scored with his boxing, included a beautiful shot to the body followed up with a crisp punch to the face. By round’s end, Diaz was still sticking out that chin and taunting and Condit was bleeding under his left eye.
In round two, Condit was more reticent and dancing. Greg Jackson’s were fingerprints all over it and Diaz was the one constantly pushing the action. In Diaz’s best sequence of the fight, he caught Condit against the fence and unleashed a volley of eight or nine punches to the body. Condit wasn’t nearly as busy as he had been in the first stanza.
In rounds three and four, Condit started attacking Diaz with more vigor, primarily behind an assortment of kicks to Diaz’s lead leg, midsection and head. Never did it seem as if the charging Diaz was wounded, but perhaps the noted boxer became frustrated by Condit’s constant mobility and refusal to stand in the pocket to exchange. Nevertheless, it was an intelligent and effective strategy, one that allowed Condit to cinch rounds three and four in the eyes of many in media row. Simply, Diaz’s fists had trouble finding any part of Condit’s body.
Judges scored it 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46 for Condit.