Dallas notes: Title shots, Carano's return
March, 14, 2014
By Brett Okamoto
DALLAS -- Is the UFC 171 co-main event between Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley a No. 1 contender bout in the welterweight division? That depends on whom you ask.
During a media function on Thursday, Condit and Woodley both said they've been guaranteed a title shot with a win over the other on Saturday. The vacant belt is up for grabs in the night’s headliner between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.
Al Powers for ESPNWith a win, Tyron Woodley could be in line for a UFC title shot.
Moments after Condit and Woodley left the American Airlines Center, however, UFC president Dana White said nothing is ever a guarantee -- especially UFC title shots.
“There are no guarantees anywhere in life,” White said. “They’re going to have to come out and perform -- and we’ll see what happens.”
The UFC 171 main card is stacked with elite welterweight talent. Hendricks, Lawler, Condit, Woodley, Hector Lombard and Jake Shields are all potential titleholders at 170 pounds.
Condit (29-7) lost back-to-back fights to Georges St-Pierre and Hendricks but rebounded in August with a finish over Martin Kampmann. His primary focus in the past year has been shoring up the wrestling deficiency that led to those two losses.
“I was in tune with the lack of wrestling ability on my part before those fights, but I feel like the guys I’ve brought in now, the particular coaches, just fit me and my personality better,” Condit told ESPN.com.
“I’ve been told I get a title shot, and I plan on putting on a phenomenal show against Tyron Woodley. I deserve the title shot.”
Woodley (12-2) would essentially jump the line at 170 pounds should he get an opportunity to fight for the belt. A member of American Top Team, Woodley is just 2-1 in the UFC and 2-2 in his past four fights.
That hasn’t dampened his outlook on the situation, however. Woodley campaigned hard for the Condit fight and believes he’s ready to carry the welterweight torch.
“I don’t care who is ranked higher or who is next in line,” Woodley said. “Nobody will be a better champion than me. I think I’m the full package -- a combination of good, hood and Hollywood. I’m marketable, punch hard and well-spoken.”
White, however, apparently hasn’t forgotten another fight on the UFC 171 main card between Hector Lombard (33-4-1) and Jake Shields (29-6-1). Shields has a strong case for a title shot with career wins over Condit, Woodley and Lawler.
“I think pretty much anybody on this card who comes out looking great and exciting can get a shot,” White said.
As for the man who gave up the belt late last year, White said he “knows for a fact” that St-Pierre will eventually return from retirement and fight whoever has the belt.
“I haven’t talked to him, but we’ve texted,” White said.
“Is it fun for Georges St-Pierre to be gone? I wouldn’t say it’s fun, but the welterweight division is exciting now ... and when Georges does come back, whoever is standing there, it will be a fun fight.”
White on Rousey, Carano, Holm
A fantasy fight between UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and former featherweight-turned-actress Gina Carano remains just that for now -- a fantasy.
Jon Kopaloff/Getty ImagesDon't expect to see Gina Carano make a return to the cage.
Carano (7-1) has not fought since August 2009 and spent the majority of her career above 135 pounds, but that hasn’t stamped out rumors of a potential comeback.
White maintains there is nothing currently in the works regarding an upcoming opponent for Rousey (9-0), who recently vacationed out of the country.
“There’s absolutely nothing going on,” White said.
White did say that any fight involving Rousey would be done at 135 pounds and not a catchweight, including a bout against Carano. He also confirmed reports of a split between Rousey with her management team, Fight Tribe Management.
The two sides are reportedly involved in a dispute regarding her contract. White said he was aware of it and it would not affect her ability to compete.
“It doesn’t affect it in that way at all,” White said. “That’s between them and has nothing to do with [the UFC].”
White also confirmed he’s scheduled to meet with undefeated female bantamweight Holly Holm (6-0) for the first time this weekend in Texas. Holm has fought for Bellator MMA and Legacy Fighting Championships.
“I’m meeting with her this week,” White said. “I’ve never met them. We’ll see what happens.”