As UFC 154 nears, Carlos Condit is slowly transforming from calm, cool and collected to "The Natural Born Killer" his fans have come to know and appreciate.
This weekend (Sat., Nov. 17, 2012), Condit has the rare opportunity become just the third man in mixed martial arts (MMA) history to defeat Georges St. Pierre. And he can do it in hostile territory, before nearly 50,000 rabid fight fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada,
The icing on the frigid Canadian cake, of course, would be the unification of the 170-pound title and all the prestige that comes along with being the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion.
Mike Bohn for MMAmania.com recently caught up with Condit prior to his big night. Check out what he had to say below:
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): How's the experience of doing UFC "Primetime" been this time compared to last when you did it for UFC 143?
Carlos Condit: It's a little bit -- I would say it's easier this time, just because I'm used to it. It's the same camera crew, they're cool guys, we already have a rapport so, it's not, it's less of a shock, less of an adjustment this time around.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): You're eight days out from the fight [this interview was conducted one week ago], I know we'll probably see some of this on the show in the next two episodes, but give me a preview of your schedule between now and fight day. Is hard training over?
Carlos Condit: I'm doing some more training here in Albuquerque, N.M., I have two more training days, I leave early Tuesday morning and then as you can imagine in Montreal doing media and cutting my weight and you know, still doing some training out there.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): You haven't fought since February and you've obviously improved your skills since then, what area of your game would you say you've improved on most since you last fought?
Carlos Condit: I would say probably my overall athletic ability. I have worked, quite, pretty extensively on my strength and my power, my quickness.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Do you notice that improved athletic ability in your techniques and how it plays in to your overall game?
Carlos Condit: Yeah, definitely. You know I'm able to mix it up and toss guys around that, before, you know, I wasn't able to move them around quite as much and wasn't able to implement certain techniques that I am now.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): As I said before we're a week out from the fight, when do you "flip the switch" so to speak and transform from Carlos Condit to ‘The Natural Born Killer?'
Carlos Condit: You know there's definitely flickers of that kind of shining through already. I'm ready to be done with training, I'm ... it's been a long, long camp. I'm ready to fight and I'm sure my training partners kind of start to see it a little bit and yeah, I definitely feel the transformation kind of taking place.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): I know you said in a past interview that Greg Jackson not cornering either of you is an equal disadvantage for both parties, but what was it like going through this camp without Greg? Was it a noticeable absence in terms of how your camp went?
Carlos Condit: Yeah, it is in a sense. Greg's a huge part of my training camps, you know I had to bring in two or three guys to help me train just to take his place because he's so knowledgeable and so experienced in training fighters. You know, luckily Greg's still around, we're still chatting and I joke around with him, so that's cool. Still around him so it's not like, ‘Oh this is new' and he's just not there, I'm just not training with him.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): FUEL TV did a special on St. Pierre's gym this week and Dan Hardy was up there as one of his sparring partners. Firas Zahabi said they brought him in because they thought your fight with Hardy was competitive up until the knockout. What do you think of that move by him bringing in Dan Hardy to help prepare for you?
Carlos Condit: It's interesting. Hey, he's a good kickboxer and a pretty good all around fighter and you know his last couple fights he looked really good. So, but yeah interesting choice, I didn't know that.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): Georges has also said he's really going for the finish in this fight and he really wants it. Are you expecting him to be more aggressive than his past few fights?
Carlos Condit: Yeah I do, I think that because of a lot of the criticism that he's got lately, you know he's going to try and make a statement. He's going to try and come back with some gusto and, you know, I think that's going to be a mistake though.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): One thing I think a lot of people are overlooking in this fight is the fact that in one way or another you've been preparing for Georges for almost a year now, your focus has only been on him. On the other hand, he's been using that time to focus on just getting healthy and fit enough to fight. Do you think that gives you an advantage?
Carlos Condit: Yeah, I do. But honestly I don't think that's going to take away from Georges' abilities. I think that he was still staying sharp and from all reports from his camp he's 100 percent, he's looking great so I'm expecting Georges St. Pierre at his best.
Mike Bohn (MMAmania.com): I'm not going to ask you for a prediction for your fight, but I do want to know your thoughts on the co-main event considering the winner of Johny Hendricks and Martin Kampmann could be the next number one contender. Who do you like you in that fight? You've obviously fought Kampmann before so how do you think his game stacks up against Hendricks?
Carlos Condit: Hendricks is very, very dangerous. You know his striking is very powerful, pretty unorthodox and you know I know that he's got a pretty prestigious wrestling background. But I think Kampmann has the experience and the depth as far as his knowledge and his still to pull off that fight. So I would probably put my money on Kampmann.
How will it all unfold? Find out tomorrow night right here!