Last weekend, at UFC ON FOX 29, former interim UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit walked into the Octagon looking to pick up his first win since May of 2015. Instead, he was submitted by Alex Oliveira by way of a guillotine choke in the second round.
The loss marked Condit’s fourth straight, the longest skid of his career.
Following the loss, fans, media, and even Condit himself were all left wondering how he got to this point. Just two short years ago, he was in the fight of the year with then-Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler. He lost by split-decision, but many, (including yours truly), felt as though he should have earned the crown that night in Sin City.
It was following the Lawler fight that the aptly-named ‘Natural Born Killer’ first started making comments about his pending retirement, saying at the post-fight press conference, “Tonight was kind of a do or die moment for my career, and I was all in. If I got that strap, I was gonna keep fighting, if I didn’t, like I didn’t, I have to see if I can continue to do this.”
Ultimately, Condit came to the conclusion that he could continue to compete, and was submitted by a surging Demian Maia for his troubles.
After back to back loses, Condit (30-12) walked away for over a year. He spent time with his family, started a coffee business, Hundred Hands Coffee, and started working in medical sales.
Eventually, the itch came back.
Condit’s tweet to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, prior to his return against Neil Magny.
In the buildup to his return to competition against a tough Neil Magny, he stated in numerous interviews that fighting was the best way he knew to make money. His comments led many to wonder aloud if he was returning for the right reasons.
Condit dropped that contest as well, in the form of an underwhelming unanimous decision. This time however, he requested a quick turnaround. An injury to Matt Brown led to Condit squaring off with Olivera this past weekend.
After the fight, Condit released a statement questioning his ability to compete at the highest level. He didn’t state emphatically that he was walking away, but wasn’t entirely sure he would be sticking around either.
With over 40 professional MMA bouts, most of which memorable kill or be killed wars, it would be hard to blame the 16-year veteran.
With all the concerns about CTE and other injuries, coupled with the fact that Condit himself is doubting his ability to compete, perhaps hanging up the gloves is for the best, as painful as that may be for fight fans to come to terms with.
Not only that, but Condit should be able to enjoy time with his young family.
In his post-fight statement, he reiterated that he would never stop training, and never walk away from the sport entirely. Perhaps Condit would be beneficial to the UFC as an on-air personality. He is one of the more articulate fighters on the roster. In that way, he is similar to former Heavyweight title-holder Frank Mir, who received praise for his work as an analyst for the now-defunct WEC promotion. Mir still does broadcasting for various fight promotions to this day.
Time waits for no man. Eventually, athletes lose a step or two. It is simply a fact.
Condit can walk away from the sport with his head held high. He was able to live his dream, fighting for a living. He won titles in multiple promotions. Not only that, but he became one of the greatest fighters the Welterweight division has ever known.
More importantly, he will be remembered as one of the classiest fighters in the sport’s history.
If this is indeed the end of the road for Carlos Condit, there is only one thing that should be said.