Yesterday, after Nick Diaz again failed to show up for a press conference or return phone calls, Condit was offered the chance of a lifetime – a UFC welterweight title fight against Georges St. Pierre. Funny how things work out. Condit was originally slated to face former lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn in the co-main event of UFC 137. After accepting the new fight, Condit was immediately on a plane to Vegas to meet with Dana White and other UFC brass to finalize the fight. After he landed in Vegas he took some time from his suddenly-hectic schedule to speak with me. Believe it or not, he’s kind of excited for the opportunity.
How was your day today before you got the big phone call?
Carlos Condit: It was tedious. I was training and it was one of those days where it was kind of a grind. I got the call and things have been pretty crazy since then.
What went through your head when you first got the call?
Carlos Condit: Man, a lot of things. Just a whole bunch of emotions. I’ve been at this for a really long time. I’ve been fighting professionally for almost 10 years. Finally, getting a chance to fight for the UFC title is incredible.
Both you and GSP are Greg Jackson guys, did that make the decision any harder?
Carlos Condit: No, I’ve said in the past that I couldn’t pass up and opportunity to fight Georges if he were a title-holder. You know, I’m in this game to be the best in the world. It is what it is. I’ve got a lot of respect for Georges, but he’s between me and my goal.
Who are you going to be working with for this fight?
CC: You know what, I haven’t quite… For the most part, I have that figured out, but I haven’t had a chance to talk to Greg Jackson. I’ll definitely be working with Mike Winkeljohn who’s my standup coach. Working with my strength and conditioning guy, probably working with Chris Luttrell who’s a big part of the team down at Jackson’s.
How well do you know each others’ styles, strengths and weaknesses?
CC: You know what, we haven’t trained together all that much. We’ve been at the gym at the same time, but we’ve never sparred. We’ve never rolled. So what I know is what I’ve seen in his fights.
Georges is obviously one of the best wrestlers in your division, but you have 13 submission wins in your career. How do you see the fight playing out?
CC: Georges is very good at what he does. He’s got great wrestling. He’s got some very, very quick, effective strikes. I imagine I may end up on my back a few times, but I’m pretty good at getting up, getting back in position or attacking effectively off the ground. My standup is pretty dangerous so, I think that I’m going to be able to pose some problems that Georges hasn’t seen before.
Now that you’ve got your title fight. Any idea what your new promotional schedule will look like?
CC: I’ve done title fights for the WEC championship, but I imagine that this is on a whole other level. I’ve got to prepare myself and take it one day at a time.
Any final thoughts about finally earning your UFC title shot?
CC: I’m certainly proud and honored to be fighting for the UFC belt. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices and worked really hard through my career and to finally be here just feels really good.
UFC 137 takes place October 29 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. You can follow him on Twitter: @CarlosCondit.