Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans waited with bated breath for Carlos Condit's return to the Octagon following ACL surgery that kept the former interim Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight kingpin on the shelf for 14 months, and boy did "The Natural Born Killer" make the wait worthwhile last night in Brazil.
In a Saturday night showcase (May 30, 2015), Condit took on former No. 1 contender Thiago Alves in a highly anticipated and important 170-pound main event at UFC Fight Night 67. After a shaky first round that saw the former champ shrug off some Octagon jitters, Condit put on a show in the second, earning a (technical) knockout victory over "The Pitbull" while mangling his face in the process.
The savagery displayed by Condit in the Goiania Arena sent a shudder through the spines of his prospective opponents, and you can bet UFC brass took notice of "NBK's" brilliance.
Considering the welterweight division is just about as stacked as it has ever been, a lot can happen between now and Condit's next fight, so let me break down how I see everything playing out.
Right off the bat I would like to mention that I would still love to see Condit throw down with Matt Brown, but "The Immortal" one has to get through Tim Means at UFC 189, which has proved to be a tall task for "The Dirty Bird's" latest opponents.
A much more important fight is also going down on the July 11th pay-per-view (PPV), and that is the welterweight title fight pitting UFC champ Robbie Lawler against Rory MacDonald.
The former interim champ asked UFC brass to give him the winner of that fight, but I only see that happening if MacDonald leaves Las Vegas as the champ. Considering Condit owns a victory over Rory, UFC matchmakers would be delighted to put together that rematch.
If Lawler retains his title, there is almost no doubt he will throw down with former UFC champ Johny Hendricks for a third time, leaving Condit on the outside looking in.
If that is the case, expect Condit to rematch Tyron Woodley, the very man who caused "NBK's" knee to blow out at UFC 171 back in March 2014.
Sitting at No. 4 in the welterweight division, expect Condit to be fighting for UFC gold next, or for the No. 1 contendership against "T-Wood."
Either way, let's just hope we see Condit back inside the cage sooner rather than later.
For complete results from UFC Fight Night 67: "Condit vs. Alves," including play-by-play updates, click here.