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Why Create an Interim Title that Won’t Be Defended?

When UFC President Dana White announced that the bout between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz scheduled for UFC 143 would be for the UFC Interim Welterweight Title it made sense. Both men were scheduled to face reigning champion Georges St. Pierre at one point in time or another. Diaz lost his first opportunity because of his inability to follow directions and like Condit before him lost an opportunity when GSP was injured.

The reason the interim title was created in the first place was because of the severity of the knee injury GSP had suffered. Surgery would force the Canadian to be out of action until late fall of this year. By having Diaz or Condit become interim champion the UFC could keep the title active until St. Pierre was healthy enough to face whoever was champion at the time of his return. It’s not like there was a shortage of competent challengers waiting to face the winner of the UFC 143 match-up.

After what many felt was a controversial decision that went in Condit’s favor the talk turned to having the two rematch sometime in the middle of the year. This would allow the title to be defended at least once before GSP was ready to unify the championship. As luck would have it Diaz was popped for smoking pot and is facing a lengthy suspension. There goes a high profile rematch between the two, but does that mean Condit should remain on the shelf for the next 9-10 months?

I can name a few legitimate challengers to Condit’s title beginning with Jake Ellenberger. Back in September of 2009 Condit narrowly defeated “The Juggernaut” in his UFC debut. During the first round Condit was floored three times but came back to win a Split Decision. Ellenberger has since won six fights in a row highlighted by a first round knockout over Jake Shields and last night’s thrilling unanimous decision victory over a dangerous Diego Sanchez.

Not only is the story line already in place, but Ellenberger is a legitimate threat to both Condit and St. Pierre. Fans and media are both clamoring for the match-up not only to see the title defended but to see what could be a potential fight of the year. Both fighters have been on a tear since they fought and a case could be made that Ellenberger has improved greatly; that if not for some Octagon jitters would have walked away the victor that night in Oklahoma City.

If not Ellenberger why not the winner of the Josh Koscheck-Johny Hendricks bout scheduled for May in New Jersey? Koscheck has been near the top of the division for years now and would give Condit all he could handle should he be able to get by the man who knocked out Koscheck’s former teammate Jon Fitch in just twelve seconds. Hendricks is 7-1 in the UFC and 9-1 overall under the Zuffa umbrella. He is a dynamic fighter with power in his hands and an ever growing legion of dedicated fans.

Assuming the winner came away injury free they could be ready to face Condit in August or September. That would set up a bout between the winner and GSP for the New Year’s Eve card in Las Vegas. Not only would the UFC be giving fans a great fight between Condit and anyone of the three contenders I have mentioned, but they would allow GSP to be fully prepared to face the winner on a card that has historically been a very successful show.

No matter who Condit faces it is completely unfair to ask him to sit on the sidelines for nearly a year while waiting for St. Pierre to rehab his knee. It also is a slap in the face of the fans that paid good money to watch Diaz and Condit vie for a title that will never be defended. What sense does that make? It’s not like everyone is dying to see Condit take on “Rush” anyway. In all likelihood GSP will out-wrestle “The Natural Born Killer” on his way to another dominating decision.

Against Hendricks or Ellenberger he would face two very good wrestlers who can use their grappling both offensively and defensively all the while having the ability to land that one punch knockout to the long reigning champion. Obviously the only drawback to having Condit face the Hendricks-Koscheck winner is the possibility of GSP having to face “Kos” for a third time. If that’s the case let Ellenberger and Hendricks go at it with the winner facing Condit. The timing makes sense and so do the match-ups, make it happen Dana!

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

20 COMMENTS
  • Angry Mike says:

    “Diaz v. Condit II: Dude, where’s my belt?”

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  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    And then?

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  • Rece Rock says:

    The interim title was used to create a championship main event & drive up the casual fan interest and sells some more ppvs… Business as usual.

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  • Eh after Hendricks has his way the Kos…we’ll never hear of him in title contention again

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    The interim belt was a silly idea in the first place. Why would that silly idea dictate how fights should be made during the rest of 2012?

    The extended layoff for Condit is obviously not ideal, but then again nothing has been ideal for Condit during this entire fiasco, which started when Diaz was granted the immediate title shot vs. GSP. While Diaz was beating up EliteXC/SF competition, Condit was piling up consecutive victories over Ellenberger, Rory, Hardy and Stun Gun. It’s absurd Diaz was given the shot over Condit.

    But as fate would have it, Diaz and Condit got to meet up in a #1 contender fight. It wasn’t the fight we were hoping for stylistically, but the simple fact of the matter is Condit completely shut down Diaz’s attack, absorbing no real damage while landing more strikes. And while MMA judging is far from impeccable, a unanimous decision is a unanimous decision.

    Interim belts are usually silly, and the same with immediate rematches.

    So now Condit has beaten Diaz and that’s still not good enough for a lot of people. Instead of waiting an extra few months for his overdue title shot, he should fight again. Against a guy he already beat during his current streak. I don’t buy it.

    Bottom line is Condit has more than earned the right to make this call. If he wants to stay busy and take another fight, more power to him. If he’s tired of the BS that’s played out over the past several months and would rather wait an extra few months for the elusive shot at GSP, I cannot criticize that decision at all. And if I was in the same position, I’d absolutely go with the latter. It’s the overwhelmingly logical choice that, again, he’s well earned the right to make.

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  • thumbs up rich

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    Ellenberger again looked really good, other than his late slip up. He did get dinged up a little bit, so a little extra time off is likely warranted, which should set things up perfectly to take on the winner of Hendricks-Koscheck.

    If Diaz is fortunate to get off with a suspension of 6 months or less, let him face the winner of Alves-Kampmann, either one of which would make for a great scrap.

    WW is still a great division with quite a few guys bunched up after GSP and, to a lesser extent, Condit. There are plenty of great matchups to be made without worrying about a silly interim belt.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Thumbs down Rich.
    Do you think becuz Diaz (a top 5) DIDNT get a title shot then beat Penn (a top 10), then went on to face Condit for the title that isnt, had a debatable outcome, that now Condit has the right to wait for 10 months? Well listen Rich, just becuz he had to fight to get that title doesnt mean he doesnt have to fight to keep it. As far as Im concerned, if he cant beat the other guys in line for a shot he doesnt deserve a shot. You have lost the whole idea of what a champion is, a guy who beats those in his way and then takes the belt, not a guy that beats a few and then waits. I hope if he waits, somehow he doesnt get the shot. You dont wait 3/4 of a year when other top fighters are there to fight, thats what scared people do and Condit and his camp are afraid to fight again in case they lose. That is not a champion.

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    I’m not sure which one is more generous — labeling Diaz a top 5 guy, or BJ a top 10 guy at WW. Either way, I disagree on both counts.

    Go ahead and rattle off Diaz’s impressive wins at WW that catapult him into the top 5. I realize he’s a top 5 guy on paper according to most pundits… I’d just like to see him prove it against UFC competition rather than on the merits of beating up EliteXC/SF guys.

    Why Diaz gets to take the escalator to the top of the WW ranks while the other guys are taking the stairs, while having to fight each other on the way up, just doesn’t add up for me.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Here we go again. So Daley, BJ, Noons, Smith, Shamrock, Sakurai, Zaromskis, Gomi, Tibau and Neer dont count for the fuking stupid reason that isnt a reason at all and that is that it wasnt the UFC. Well Gomi was #1 or #2, Daley was top 10, BJ was top 10, Zaromskis was top 10, Neer is a class fighter, Smith and Shamrock were both top 20 and he foughtat a higher weight for the fights, Noons had beaten him and Tibau is pretty solid. Condits run involves Hardy whos biggest win is over the 35 year old Gono and who has now dropped 4 in a row, a a couple of other guys who have only sampled top 20 waters breifly. Ellenberger was a big “win” but many think it was a loss. Yes they were in the UFC but that means nothing at all, zip, zilch. The UFC is a company and not a majical entity that makes fighters better.
    Anyway WTF has Diaz got to do with Condit sitting out for 10 months. Is it Diazs fault Condit wont fight? I think you will find that it has nothing to do with Diaz becuz Diaz doesnt have any kind of mind control over Condit. If it makes you feel better to justify every thing Condit does with Diaz hate, do it but its still wrong. Condit wont fight anyone becuz hes afraid of losing, now I say a fighter like that is no champion.

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    Daley, BJ, Noons, Smith, Shamrock, Sakurai, Zaromskis, Gomi, Tibau and Neer.

    Dude, c’mon. Read your own list. Nick’s win over Sakurai was in the middle of a 4-fight losing streak after he was well on the wrong side of 30. The Zaromskis victory was also in the midst of a losing streak for Z, as he got finished by Cyborg as well. The Gomi victory has essentially no bearing on fighting at the WW weight in the UFC. And at least replace someone like Smith with Lawler to help out Diaz.

    Does Diaz have a solid overall resume? Absolutely. But does that all catapult a guy (who, btw, has a 7-5 record under the UFC banner) to top 5 status in the WW division? Pretty iffy proposition.

    Set aside your disgust with Condit’s gameplan in beating Diaz earlier this month. All I’m saying is I’d like to see Diaz have to beat the current crop of top UFC welterweights to, ya know, actually earn his top ranking and title shot.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Look Rich I know how it works. If all of Condits last opponents had never been in the UFC and Diaz had fought them guys like you would still be saying the same thing. As if the UFC makes fighters better. Truth is that what it is is marketing and the ability to fight other marketed fighters and thats all. It happens all the time. Overeem was shit and hadnt fought anyone, then he comes into the UFC and shows fan boys that “a top 5″ and a former “world champion” like Lesnar is actually a joke. Hendo is called shit and “dropped” he then comes back in and beats a top LHW in a weight class above his last UFC bout. Werdum is “no good” and was “dropped” and then comes back and destroys a guy who for some bizzare reason is considered a top fighter just becuz he is in the UFC. Its this simple Rich, the name UFC means nothing at all. Im not sure who said it but somebody said Jr had faced a higher standard of opposition to Overeem. Thats the trap you all fall in, just becuz they are in the UFC does not mean the standard of opposition is higher. Look at Carwin, his Career wins are against guys with an ave win to loss ratio of 9-7 take out Gonzaga and Mir and its like 1-1 and they were circus acts too. Its easy for you to dismiss non UFC fighters but the truth is that it has been proven that all this talk of this guy or that guy not being that good just becuz UFC isnt said along side their name is false. Zaromskis was not in the middle of a losing streak and was the Dream champ and top 10 at the time. Now I want you to look at Condits top comp before Diaz. Hardy has lost 4 in a row and has no significant wins at all. His biggest win is arguably Mike Swick. Rory has 1 or 2 slightly significant wins and arguably the biggest is Pyle. Hyun has 1 sinificant win and that is Nate Diaz.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    I dont think any of Condits victims in his entire career have beaten a top 10. Only a few have beaten a top 20 and those few have only beaten 1 or 2 top 20s. I think BJ has beaten a couple of top 10s before and I think he had a draw with the #2 before he fought Diaz, is that right?

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    All of his victims appart fom Ellenberger that is

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  • Dong was a top ten WW…..Hardy was a top 10 ww(at least according to current rankings at the time which I dont agree with)..

    I get what your saying about Diaz being an upper echelong WW…I disagree about Penn…Penn hadnt defeated a top ww in what….5 years(matt hughes has NOT been a top ww since the thiago alves fight) and he went to a draw with Fitch(a robbery of a decision, I had Fitch 29-27….yet you dont mention THAT one and you’re whining nonstop about Nick Diaz getting outstruck in all but one round against Carlos stating that he won)

    Does being in the UFC make you a top tier fighter…not necesarily, but it DOES give you alot more credibility than beating cashiers and washups in bellator(Lombard) Beating UFC has beens in strikeforce(Lawler, Smith, Daley, Shamrock for Diaz)

    Give the NBK some fucking credit already dude. He, like Diaz, wasnt just beating people before comin to the UFC he was DESTROYING them….and since a semi bad split over a top tier WW(Kampmann) he has gone on to finish all but 2 fighters in Ellenberger AND Diaz….both who are fantastic competitors and tough as nails, by a combination of ground prowress, great striking and due dilligence. If he wants to wait for GSP it is his right as he should’ve been wearing GSP’s belt on halloween but bein the class act he is, he’s been sidelined for forever.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    You dickhead I NEVER stated Diaz won, never ever. I also never said Hardy wasnt a top 10 or Kim. Now how about YOU guys giving Diaz credit instead of demanding I give Condit credit. That is what this is about, actually its about Condit pussying out of fighting for 10 months but first Rich makes that about Diaz (WTF?) and attacks Diaz by saying he hasnt beaten anyone. Apparently Gomi when he was top 2 at 160, Penn when he was top 10 and coming off a draw with #2 in which he won rd 1, won the first half of 2 but lost 3. You think he was robbed and so do I but it happened didnt it? Or if we think the dec was wrong does that mean it didnt happen? Also beating Daley a top 10 doesnt count, nor a win over the Dream champ and top 10 Zaromskis or being SF champ or Neer, or Tibauor anything. Well fuk me. It appears that nothing Diaz does, including beating at least 4 top 10s in a 13-1 and 1 run. Then I point out that Confit has not beaten too many amazing fighters either and to your twisted minds Im being unfair. Listen dude, you guys have been banging on about non UFC fighters for ever but you see that as fine. Now I point out how UFC fighters are not so special either and you see that as unacceptable. Fuk off. Check yourselves out. You will find that most of the time I am defending fighters like Werdum, Hendo, Fedor, Diaz, Barnett etc while you guys bitch about them. So HOW BOUT YOU GIVE SOME CREDIT before those guys that a lot of you clowns disrespect just because they are not in the UFC join back with the UFC and show you that you are full of shit. Daley is still a top 10 and was 1 fight away from fighting for a title in the UFC before being sacked for punching after the bell. You saying he is a UFC reject says it all about your mentality. The big one is discrediting Penn. Penn had beaten TOP 10 Hughes a draw with Fitch (it happened) and win over top 10 LW and WW Sanchez. You guys will do anything to discredit all of his opponents and then bitch because I point out how Condits opponents are not all that special.

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  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Diaz beat Lawler while he was a top UFC fighter not as a wash up or reject like you would LIKE TO THINK.

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  • AlphaOmega says:

    What happened to banning people for bashing other posters for no reason?

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  • thomaswhigham says:

    It’s interesting watching MMA-LOGIC feel so personally disrespected while debating this issue and lashing out at others. I think his position is solid for what its worth. Who cares if BJ is top ten at WW or top 13. One interesting thing in determining the top ten is who you’ve been matched against. Like if BJ fought every welterweight in the world he might finish with a higher finishing percentage and more enjoyable fights than some of the people ranked ahead of him, even if their win percentages were the same or close to it. It’s fun to debate, regardless. I think Condit did some things in the Diaz fight I haven’t seen before, which was cool. I’d like to see him fight again before GSP, simply because right now I am not excited for that fight.

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  • I HAVE given Diaz credit. I’ve been a fan of Diaz since Jeremy Jackson knocked him out in 02…Did you even know who he was? Oh the band who’s tattoo is on my arm wrote his first entrance music as a professional too. Nick’s the man all day, but he fought a stupid fight, clearly lost it and has acted like a baby the whole time since.

    I have sworn up and down how great Nick Diaz is and how either he or Condit are the recipe to dethrone GSP.(dont believe me ask MCM)
    But I will concede you are right about him knockin out Robbie when he was on his best UFC streak.

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