On Feb. 4, 2012, something happened in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) that had not occurred in more than four years:
A new Welterweight champion was crowned. And he wasn't named Georges St. Pierre.
Granted, it has an interim tag attached to it, but the fact still remains, Carlos Condit is the new 170-pound interim champion, which, oddly enough, has kind of flown under the radar.
All of the drama that followed UFC 143 may have something to do with that.
Specifically, the highly debated decision in the main event that saw judges award Condit a unanimous win over Nick Diaz, after "The Natural Born Killer" and his camp imposed a not-so fan-friendly gameplan to earn the nod. And then the news shortly thereafter that Diaz had tested positive for marijuana in his mandated drug test, ending all hopes of an immediate rematch, which was unofficially announced before the weed fiasco.
Everyone from fans, media and even a hall of fame mixed martial artist (MMA) legend in Royce Gracie, voiced their opinions on the strategy Condit used during the UFC 143 main event, which many felt robbed them of what should have been (and very well could have been) a very exciting fight.
Condit himself has not really commented on the backlash he received post UFC 143; however, appearing on "The MMA Hour" today (Feb 12, 2012) he took the time to address all of the post-event drama, detailing how it has all overshadowed his time to shine.
Check it out:
"There's been a lot of criticism, a lot of people talking trash and some are just disappointed at the fight and that's fine. Then, you have a lot of people giving me praise and respect, so it's all even. Most of the people don't care if I win or get knocked out; they just want to see an entertaining fight. Ultimately they don't care if I get beat down or knocked out. I got to fight the way that I need to in order to win. I am proud of the way I fought. It was very close fight and a lot of the rounds were super close and could have gone either way. People connect with Nick. He is real, he goes out there and throws down, so I think a lot of people they love Nick, win or lose and I think that's great. On the other hand, I think I have caught a lot of undeserved flack because of that. It has taken the joy out of it (winning my first UFC title). There have been a lot of ups and down that last couple of days. That's the name of the game, I'm a pro fighter. Along with all the benefits, there is a lot of shit that comes on the negative side too, so it just comes with it."
On how he reacted when he found out Diaz tested positive for pot:
"I was disappointed because, honestly, I felt right after the fight, I felt like I won and dominated. Going back and watching it, I saw how close it was and I understand how people thought that nick got robbed. So I was looking forward to getting back in there and doing it again. I talked to Dana Tuesday Morning. We talked about the rematch, and he said it is a fight a lot of people want to see and I agreed with him. I was motivated to get in there and shut people up. So I told him we would discuss the details when he got back into the Country, (from Brazil) and I was up for it. Then Tuesday night, I got the news from Dana that he had failed the drug test. We have to wait to see what disciplinary action he gets, but I would love to give him a rematch."
"I would not have any problems fighting Diego; he is one of the best in the world. Since coming back to Albuquerque he has gotten back to the old Diego Sanchez. If that's who they want me to fight then we can do it for sure. The dude (Ellenberger) has been on a run, he is definitely one of the best welterweights, we had a hell of a fight a couple of years ago, but we will see how the fight goes on Wednesday and the picture as far as who I'm fighting and the title contention might be cleared up after the fight."
With Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Ellenberger set to headline UFC on Fuel TV this Wednesday (Feb. 15, 2012) in Omaha, Neb., and Josh Koscheck set to do battle with Johnny Hendricks at UFC on Fox 3 on May 5, 2012, in N.J., a possible contender to Condit's title may arise in the next few days and months to follow.
Of course, there is a certain French Canadian who still reigns supreme over the promotion's welterweight division, but having a few back ups in case his rehabilitation from knee surgery takes longer than expected, is not a bad thing.
For now, Condit can stake his claim as the top dog at 170 pounds and is willing and ready to take on all comers, including Diaz, depending on how hard the Nevada State Athletic Commission's (NSAC) hammer comes down on the Stockton slugger.
But, don't hold your breath.