When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass announced Robbie Lawler would defend his Welterweight title against former interim champ Carlos Condit, fight fans around the world were understandably thrilled at the prospect two of the most exciting fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) today would throw down inside the Octagon.
Over the last several months, UFC matchmakers have put together some highly intriguing fights, but quick finishes and mediocre performances somewhat marred a handful of anticipated No. 1 contender and title fights.
Thankfully, there was just no way Condit and Lawler wouldn't deliver an electric title fight, but there was definitely a sense of hope throughout the MMA community that the Welterweight title affair wouldn't end early.
After both Lawler and Condit were dropped in the first two rounds, the fight seemed destined to go into deep waters, where legends are made and champions are crowned.
To watch Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit full fight video highlights from UFC 195 last night click here.
Somehow, the astronomical anticipation paled in comparison to the fight itself. It seemed almost unfathomable that a Condit vs Lawler fight would exceed expectations, but heading into the fifth round, possibly tied at two rounds apiece, fight fans knew they were witnessing an instant classic.
Then came the fifth round, in what may very well be the greatest five minutes in the history of the sport.
At the time, it seemed Condit's ridiculous output had the champ behind on the scorecards, and "Ruthless" would need yet another exemplary performance in the fifth round to retain his title, just as he did against Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks in his last two title bouts.
Of course, Condit is never one to coast to a victory, so he to was looking to finish the job in the final five minutes of an incredible war.
What transpired was something out of a blockbuster film. Lawler came out firing, aggressive as ever, throwing caution to the wind in hopes of landing a bomb on the "Natural Born Killer."
The champ's blistering pace in the final frame was astonishing, as he was throwing everything he had into his punches. Condit was getting punished and pummeled, but refused to quit. Badly hurt, the challenger fired back and landed hooks and elbows of his own.
The crowd was deafening, the canvas looked like a Jackson Pollock painting, and fight fans around the world gasped in amazement as the final bell rang.
In a moment that truly exemplified the grueling war, both men essentially collapsed on the fence, proving they had given everything they had inside that Octagon.
Ultimately, "Ruthless" retained his title via split decision in a razor close contest. The fight hinged on how the third round was scored, and two of the three judges gave it in favor of the UFC champ (see the scorecards here).
Dana White believes Condit did enough to earn the victory, but the fight truly could have gone either way.
Needless to say, there was no true loser in the main event at UFC 195
Condit mentioned after the fact that he may very well hang up his gloves for good after the historic battle. If that is his choice, what a way to go out, but hopefully the fire will return for the "Natural Born Killer," and UFC brass may very well give him an immediate rematch at UFC 200.
Sure rematches are getting somewhat stale, and seemingly every event ends with at least one party calling for a rematch, but if anyone deserves another shot at UFC gold, it is Carlos Condit.
If that isn't the case, there are a stable of hungry contenders that want a shot at Robbie Lawler. A case could be made for Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, the winner of Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson, as well as wild cards Benson Henderson, Rory MacDonald, and Hector Lombard.
Simply put, UFC's Welterweight division has never been stronger, and "Ruthless" will continue to have to put together outstanding performances to remain the king in 2016.
With options aplenty, UFC brass has some work to do.
As for Lawler, following what could very well be his third consecutive "Fight of the Year," the champ deserves a healthy break before learning who his next victim will be.
For complete results from UFC 195: "Lawler vs. Condit," including play-by-play updates click here.