Diaz-Condit II could halt 170-pound division

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
1:17
PM ET
Mindenhall By Chuck Mindenhall
ESPN.com
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Well, that didn’t take long.

Moments after he beat Nick Diaz on the scorecards at UFC 143, Condit said he wanted to take some time to contemplate his next step. Would he take another fight before Georges St. Pierre returns and defend the interim belt, or simply, you know…wait it out? He needed to think about that.

Turns out Carlos Condit’s contemplative mode lasts about 48 hours.
[+] EnlargeDIaz/Condit
Rod Mar for ESPN.comNick Diaz's tantruming seems to have paid off.

On Monday Condit’s manager Malki Kawa was telling people they had no interest in a rematch. By Tuesday, Condit had interest in a rematch. By Tuesday night, the rematch was common knowledge for the nearly two million people who follow Dana White’s Twitter feed. What happened in the interstices is company business and, though the deal isn’t signed yet, somehow Condit must have found incentive to dangle his barely broken-in placeholder belt over Diaz’s head. The bruises haven’t even had time to heal yet.

And Condit’s 180-degree turn is nothing next to Diaz’s, who fought, thought he won, lost, then retired. Now he’s in the same spot he was in before that disappointing sequence. This is what happens when you put live microphones on mood swings. Yet for the record, a few days does not constitute a comeback. This isn’t Randy Couture. This was a powersulk that paid off, by a guy who will never be swayed by something as misguided as public opinion. You think he lost? Diaz has expletives for what you think.

Meanwhile St. Pierre, who loomed over Las Vegas last weekend like a French-Canadian Zeus, might get what he’s been hoping for: A rematch between the two guys chasing him. (If only Diaz can avoid the banana peel this time through!). And Josh Koscheck, who was the first guy that Dana White stuck in the door as Diaz made his way for the exits, could be headed back to the “wait and see” game.

Like sands through the hourglass…so are the days of welterweight contention.

But all the “Dana wants to give the fans what they want” aside, think about the ripple effect that this could cause. For instance, a rematch essentially hijacks the welterweight division for 2012, much the same as Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard closed down the lightweight division to all contenders in 2011. If a sequel happens in summer, and the winner gets St. Pierre around November to marry up the belts, that means Johny Hendricks, Koscheck and Jake Ellenberger will likely be a year away from a title shot. And, as time waits on no man (and bills don’t pay themselves), they’ll be turned on each other.
[+] EnlargeHendricks
Josh Hedges/Getty ImagesLeft in a lurch: Where to now for Johny Hendricks?

If St. Pierre (and Diaz) get their way in this thing, that means a lot of other guys didn’t.

Yet in the theatrical sense of drama, Condit/Diaz II is the fight to make. Depending on your couch criteria, you either saw Diaz coming forward and swinging switches (as he does) or you saw Condit making himself evasive, counterprogramming Diaz’s hit show with the old stick-and-move. It was close enough to divide fans down the middle, which makes for something left unresolved.

So what happens if the fight is made? Will Greg Jackson’s methodical brilliance win out, or will Cesar Gracie’s sic-em-boy star pupil tweak that attack? (Indeed, is that even a possibility?). What happens if Diaz chooses to react, rather than stalk forward? Does the fifth round, when Diaz took Condit to the ground, become the blueprint for the newly added five rounds?

For whatever it’s worth, Condit likes his chances enough to say “why not” to a rematch he stands nothing much to gain from. That says something about Condit and his love of fighting. And for all the accusations and hurt feelings over the weekend, two things could be made clear in a rematch.

Condit isn’t running. And Diaz isn’t walking.

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