By BOB EMANUEL JR. | Scripps Howard News Service
For Carlos Condit, next week’s Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight championship unification bout against Georges St-Pierre will bring closure to an uneven portion of his career.
Condit, the UFC’s interim champ, was originally scheduled to fight former champion B.J. Penn last October. But Condit soon found himself slated for the main event after previous top contender Nick Diaz failed to live up to his media requirements and saw his title bout pulled.
Condit’s shot at the title never materialized in 2011, however, after St-Pierre suffered a knee injury during training. Condit originally was announced as St-Pierre’s opponent in February before St-Pierre asked to fight Diaz, who publicly talked trash about St-Pierre. Another knee injury forced St-Pierre out of the bout, and Condit defeated Diaz for the interim championship in February.
“It was a bit of a roller coaster,” said Condit, a 28-year-old native of Albuquerque, N.M. “I had to switch my training up quite a bit. I was also supposed to fight (Josh) Koscheck at some point in there. Different fighters, I had to work on different things for each one of them. Emotionally, it wasn’t great to get jerked around a little bit.”
After more than a year, Condit finally gets his opportunity at St-Pierre, long regarded as the world’s top welterweight, next Saturday in the main event of UFC 154. St-Pierre, a 31-year-old Canadian native from Saint-Isidore, Quebec, won nine consecutive fights and holds a 22-2 record.
Even though he holds the interim title, Condit said he would not feel like the true champion until he defeats St-Pierre, who has held the title since 2007.
“That’s exactly my mindset,” said Condit, 28-5. “Georges is the champion, without a doubt. He’s fought and beat some of the top guys in the world over and over again. Until somebody beats Georges, he is the champion.”
QUICK JABS: Former Bellator Fighting Championships’ featherweight champion Joe Warren returns to the cage with the hope of ending a two-fight losing streak when he faces Owen Evinger (7-3) in a bantamweight bout to headline Bellator 80 Friday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Warren, 7-3, won the featherweight tournament in Bellator’s second season and defeated Joe Soto in 2010 to win the title. Warren successfully defended the title once before he lost to Alexis Vila in the Season Five bantamweight tournament quarterfinals a year ago. Pat Curran defeated Warren for the title in March. Bellator 80 will also feature a pair of tournament semifinals when featherweight Wagnney Fabiano faces Rad Martinez and heavyweight Vinicius Queiroz faces Alexander Volkov. Middleweights Brett Cooper and Darryl Cobb open the televised card, which can be seen live at 3 p.m. HST and on tape delay at 6 p.m. HST on MTV2 … The UFC enters a new market this weekend when the promotion makes its debut in China. Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin will face Cung Le in the main event of UFC Macao, which will take place at the Cotai Arena in Macao, China. The event, which will be broadcast live on Fuel TV at 4 a.m. HST, also features light heavyweights Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav Nedkov, welterweights Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago, lightweights Takanori Gomi vs. Mac Danzig, bantamweights Alex Caceres vs. Motonubu Tezuka and lightweights Tiequan Zhang vs. Jon Tuck. Fuel will rebroadcast the card at 2 p.m. HST.