War of the Welterweights

Written by Tom Ngo
August 2nd, 2008

WEC welterweight, Carlos Condit, is the latest in a long line of talented 170-pounders to feel that he is one of the best in the world, and would like the opportunity to face all that the UFC has to offer to prove it. Currently, the MMA powerhouse holds eight of the top ten welterweights in the world, including the very best in Georges St-Pierre. EliteXC welterweight champion, Jake Shields, started the trend this past Saturday at EliteXC “Unfinished Business.”

In his post fight ring interview, the newly crowned EliteXC welterweight champion, stated that he would be paying close attention to the upcoming UFC 87 event, which is headlined by the welterweight title bout between #2 ranked Jon Fitch against the aforementioned St-Pierre for his title. Shields stated that he would like a shot to fight the winner, if not both of the top ranked fighters.

Perhaps his emotions got the better of him in the ring, as he later changed his tune in the post-fight press conference, stating that he knows that he probably shouldn’t have called out fighters in another organization because the chances of the fight taking place are less than slim.

“I guess that was a mistake. I just kind of called them out, but that fight realistically won’t happen next,” Shields said of St. Pierre and Fitch. “Those are two guys I’d really love to fight right now. Two of the top guys at my weight. I’ve got a lot of respect for both of them, that’s why I want to fight them.”

In addition to that, if Shields really wanted to face the best welterweights in the world, he should have signed with the UFC when he was a free agent just two years ago. Instead, he opted to sign with EliteXC knowing that the new promotion had nothing more than B-level talent to offer.

Condit, who does hold a respectable 22-4 record, will be making his third title defense this weekend at WEC 36 against an inferior Hiromitsu Miura (9-4). Condit has posted the majority of his victories over over such talent. In fact, the most notable win to Condit’s name would be against MMA veteran, Frank Trigg, two years ago. However, Triggs best years had been left behind him more than 5 years ago.

Regardless, Condit felt the need to call out the UFC’s best, stating that he is now ready to step into the spotlight and not only challenge, but beat the best.

“But I feel, me being the champion, I can deal with any one of those guys in the UFC and beat quite a few of them and give any of them a run for their money,” Condit told the OCRegister.

“I want to fight anyone who is above me,” Condit added. “I don’t put too much thought into who I’m going to fight next or anything like that. I focus on improving myself and being the best that I can be. I know that if I reach my potential, then I can beat those guys. I can beat guys like GSP. I can beat guys like (Jon) Fitch. I can fight any of these guys. When I reach my prime, it’s going to be a scary, scary thing for everybody in the welterweight division.”

Because Condit fights in the WEC, which is owned by UFC’s parent company, Zuffa LLC, it is a possibility that Condit could move to MMA’s elite organization and get his shot at the cream of the crop.  His opportunity is certainly a lot better than Shields’.

Maybe too much is being made of this one-sided banter. Perhaps this is just testosterone doing what it does best. Or, fighters selling fights for bigger paydays. However you want to look at it, the 170-pound division is clearly the deepest in the world, unfortunately there are many fights that we may never get the chance to see. And the fighters know it.

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