- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAS VEGAS -- Everyone watched the same fight. Not everyone saw it the same.
Carlos Condit’s unanimous decision win over Nick Diaz at UFC 143 is just one of those fights where we’ll have to agree to disagree. Condit believed the judges, who scored it 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 in his favor, got it right. Diaz didn’t.
Each side received its share of support. When the fight concluded, fans seemed split on the decision. Diaz continually moved forward throughout the fight; however, Condit was successful in making him miss and countering as he back-pedaled.
At the postfight news conference, UFC president Dana White agreed with the decision.
“I scored the first two rounds for Diaz and the last three for Condit,” White said. “This is going to be one of those fights that people are going to score differently. It was a tough one to score.”
Regardless of who fans felt won, one thing is clear -- the result is the result. Condit will receive the next shot at defending champion Georges St. Pierre if he chooses to wait. The Canadian is expected to make a November return from knee surgery.
Even if Diaz chooses not to retire, as he stated after the fight, it appears he’s lost the St. Pierre fight for now.
St. Pierre, who was supposed to fight Diaz at UFC 137 and 143, was sitting cageside alongside White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta. According to Fertitta, the 170-pound champion felt the fight was so close it warranted a rematch.
Fertitta responded he couldn’t do that to Condit, who was also scheduled to fight St. Pierre at UFC 137 when Diaz was removed from the main event.
“[St. Pierre] was upset. He wanted to fight Diaz,” Fertitta said. “He said, ‘You have to do a rematch’ and I said, ‘I can’t do that to Carlos.’
“Look, he won the fight. It is what it is. We’ll see what [Condit] wants to do. If I were him, I would wait. St. Pierre will be ready some time in the fall so it’s really not that long. Fighting for the unified title -- it’s worth waiting for.”
The question now is, what chance does Condit have? In many ways, although interest in a fight between Diaz and St. Pierre was high, Condit potentially poses a more problematic matchup.
For starters, he’s incredibly tough mentally. To utilize the style he did against Diaz -- purposefully back up and counter a pressure fighter -- took discipline. He elected to go with a style that could potentially hurt him in the judges’ eyes, but he executed it so well, particularly in the fourth and fifth rounds, that they sided with him.
He’s also exceptional at understanding range. No one in recent memory has been able to stay at the end of Diaz’s jab and avoid damage. Condit understood exactly where he needed to be to pull Diaz in and counter him effectively. If he can do that with Diaz’s jab, he might be able to keep St. Pierre’s double-leg takedown at a distance.
Finally, in his own words, he creates chaos. He’s cautiously wild. At one point, he surprised Diaz enough with a spinning elbow to have him say, "What? We’re throwing spinning s--- now?" He’s the same way on the ground. He’ll use unorthodox strategies to swing the fight in his favor.
Really, that’s why so many wanted to see Diaz and St. Pierre fight. Diaz creates chaos with his aggression and talking to his opponent in the cage. Against a "by the books"-type fighter like St. Pierre, that can be an advantage.
In his own way, Condit creates just as much chaos as Diaz does in a fight. Perhaps even more.
“Georges is a very technical fighter,” Condit said. “He likes to keep things cut and dry. I like to mix it up. I like to throw from weird angles, hit you with punches and elbows -- even if I’m on the ground.
“I’m trying to not only chip away from you physically, but break you mentally. That’s what I do. A lot of guys have had problems with that in the past.”
22dAndrew R. Davis