Fresh off the heels of the now infamous UFC 223 comes a trusty Saturday UFC on FOX card in Glendale, Arizona. One of the more curious fights of the evening now sees “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit face off against the alternative opponent for the injured Matt Brown – Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira.
Perhaps not as much of a barnburner as initially planned, this fight is still a challenge for Condit. Alex Oliveira is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, compared to Condit’s 2-4. Although coming off a loss to rising Yancy Medieros, Oliveira has built himself quite a resume since joining the UFC. However, with Condit having contended for the UFC welterweight championship (and having won the interim), there’s nothing to prove anymore, and he’s earned his stripes. The real question is will Carlos Condit get the result needed on Saturday to keep his spot at the top?
Looking back in UFC history, former WEC champion Condit is one of the names that pop up consistently when speaking of the sport’s most action-packed bouts. A staple in the UFC for nine years now, “The Natural Born Killer” has taken part in many a war; the fifth round of his fight with Robbie Lawler was possibly one of the best rounds in UFC history. This same fight was the first of three that Condit would end up losing in the past two or so years. One could say that Condit left a piece of himself inside the Octagon that night and it’s hard to doubt that. That same night at the post-fight press conference, Condit had almost come to terms with walking away from the sport:
“Tonight was kind of like a do-or-die moment for my career. I was all in. If I got that strap, I was gonna keep fighting. If I didn’t, like I didn’t… I will have to see if I can continue to do this.”
Although Carlos Condit has fought his way back from tricky situations before, it is crucial that he makes his way back into the win column before the game passes him by. With a lot of movement going on in the welterweight division, a win against Oliveira is imperative for Condit. After taking more than a year break after his submission loss to Demian Maia, Condit had announced a “semi-retirement”, but it’s not a good idea to have your foot half in the door when it comes to the welterweight division. Young competitors such as Darren Till are rising up the rankings fast and now is not the time to get lost in the action of it all.
Condit is at his best when he gets into the flow of the fight, be it standing up or on the ground, the Octagon is his and when it works, it works so well. When a man has competed in 41 MMA fights – 30 of those are wins – you can safely say that he has a firm grasp of his skills and fighting ability. Condit has proven time and time again that he is more than willing to stand and bang with anyone, but now is the time to prove that he’s still prepared for the challenge. The cause of the losing streak seems to be more mental than physical.
An opponent change can certainly shake things up mentally but this matchup is an opportunity for Condit to start having fun in the Octagon again. Carlos Condit is a tried and tested warrior who has given MMA fans hours of thrilling action. At the age of 33, Condit has every chance to continue fighting again in the future, regardless of if he wins or loses, but the only thing standing in front of Condit is himself. If “The Natural Born Killer” can dig deep and reawaken his old mindset, there’s no telling what we could see this Saturday night. We know Carlos Condit has got the goods to beat Alex Oliveira, we just have to see if he’s willing to bring them.