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Should the UFC set up a Carlos Condit-Jake Ellenberger rematch for the Interim Welterweight Title? Or should Condit wait out his fight with Georges St-Pierre?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Either Carlos Condit or Dana White, or maybe both, don't want Condit to take a fight before George St-Pierre is ready to return. The supposed timetable for St-Pierre's return indicates a November return. Checking my super math-o-meter, that means a healthy Carlos Condit will go nine months between his fight with Nick Diaz and a unification bout with St-Pierre. Before fighting Diaz, Condit went more than seven months between fights (Kim). Before the Kim fight, Condit sat out almost nine months. And Condit also went nine months between his fights with Jake Ellenberger and Rory Macdonald. Evidence speaks louder than words here, and the evidence is that Condit likes to take as much time between fights as possible. Yes, I realize there were events that forced him to miss a fight in October of 2011, but once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, thrice is a trend.
Condit doesn't want to fight until GSP, because it's his m.o., and because GSP is the money fight for him. Zuffa wants him to wait, although their motives remain unclear, because you can't convince me that GSP-Condit is a bigger money fight than GSP-Ellenberger. So, is the UFC going to book Condit before GSP returns (assuming he stays on schedule with his rehab)? Nope. Personally, I think it's a mistake, both for Condit, and for Zuffa.
Right now, people are unfairly, yet loudly, bagging on Condit for his game plan in the Diaz fight. He promised a war, he delivered strategery. He doesn't exactly have a lot of good will with a lot of the PPV-buying world right now. And his management team didn't help matters in the days after his win over Diaz with the way they failed to control the rematch narrative. As a result, Condit is cold right now, and probably less liked than he was one month ago. If he chooses to rot on the shelf for nine months in the prime of his career yet again, and this time choosing to sit while he has the spotlight on him, that's going to harm his marketability. What the man needs to do is get in the cage in July (because Dominick Cruz proved once he's not a PPV-selling main eventer) and fight Jake Ellenberger. Even if he wins a point-fighting decision that plays out similarly to the Diaz victory, he'll at least keep his name out there, and will be able to stay active. And let's face it, if you can't beat Jake Ellenberger, you aren't beating GSP anyways (not that this is a fighter's mentality, but still).
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I can certainly understand if Condit wants to wait. However, I think he would be best suited to fight Ellenberger before fighting GSP. I think Condit would beat Ellenberger much easier this time; not that it would be an easy fight, but that Condit would win more decisively this time. When they fought the first time, Condit was in a state of flux and wasn't performing at peak capacity. Prior to the Ellenberger fight, Condit lost to Martin Kampmann, and I don't think that would happen again.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
If the UFC can get a somewhat set timetable on GSP's return, then I would make Condit wait to fight for the title. During this time the UFC can make match-ups to determine top contenders for the title after the fight, or if GSP is unable to return by the end of the year. It's not the best idea to hold onto a belt and wait for the former champion to fight, but right now, no other fight makes more sense, and honestly, Condit beat Ellenberger before, and a new fight with GSP is more attractive.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
From a purely business standpoint, the UFC is out to make as much money as it can on any given fight. The Carlos Condit versus Jake Ellenberger rematch will make more money for the company than if Condit sits and waits for GSP. From Carlos Condit's standpoint, what makes most sense is to wait. If I were his manager, I would absolutely wait for his shot at GSP's Welterweight Title. How many times in the past have we seen title fights slip away from fighters and they never get the chance to fight for a title again? I think the Carlos Condit versus Jake Ellenberger rematch for the interim welterweight title would be an excellent fight. The first fight was close and both fighters have gotten better so this should be a great fight. I really do feel though that Carlos Condit will wait for GSP's return.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Dana White should take the lead on this and make the fight happen. Condit didn't take a tremendous amount of damage against Nick Diaz, and Ellenberger should be good to go pretty quickly. The only problem with this fight is, if it headlines a pay-per-view - who is going to order it just for Condit-Ellenberger? It doesn't sound like a hugely sellable fight to me, and I really don't see them putting it on Fox for free either. I think 100% that it should happen and Condit can add some real legitimacy to his title reign with a win, but it's just not going to draw.
Condits win over Diaz was very well earned, but also very highly debated. So without that win being fully respected in the fan base, how are they going to sell us this fight? It has to be a co-headline fight in order to fit the PPV scheme UFC has been pushing forward, or else the numbers are going to be miniscule. I think these two will put on a hell of a fight, and Ellenberger has been on absolute fire lately, so if they engage one another we're going to see a real barn burner. All in all, make it happen, just put things in place so this fight actually gets watched on television, not read about after the fact because no one wanted to pay for it.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Well, the UFC can only set up Carlos Condit vs. Jake Ellenberger if Condit is willing to take the fight and I don't believe he will, nor do I believe he should. Carlos Condit is looking at a fight with the biggest pay-per-view draw in mixed martial arts, which could mean the biggest payday of his career.
Condit also has earned the right to face Georges St-Pierre at his most vulnerable. With St-Pierre coming off two knee injuries and a surgery, this is the best shot anyone welterweight will have to beat him, and the "Natural Born Killer" needs to take it.
[Carlos Condit art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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