Condit still is taking care of Job One

Carlos Condit, left, fights Neil Magny in a welterweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 219, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on a couple of Carlos Condit’s business ventures: a jeans company and a coffee company.

Fortunately, he had, and has, his night job.

“It’s been tough,” Condit, an Albuquerque MMA fighter, regarding the recent fortunes of his Sene brand custom jeans line and his Hundred Hands coffee company. “The pandemic has been a son of a bitch.

“But luckily, my real job is killing it. I’ve fought a couple of times during the pandemic, which was fantastic.”

More fantastic still: after victories by unanimous decision over Court McGee and Matt Brown, Condit (32-13) will seek consecutive win No. 3 Saturday against fellow veteran Max Griffin (17-8) on UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Saturday’s card, featuring the much-anticipated rubber match between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in the main event, is the UFC’s first event at T-Mobile before a full crowd since March 7, 2020.

Condit, whose wins over McGee and Brown occurred with no fans in attendance, can’t wait.

“It’s a huge card with a great opponent (Griffin),” he said. “I think the crowd is gonna be unbelievable. With all the fans, all the McGregor fans, it’s gonna be intense. What a (bleeping) opportunity.”

That Condit could get such an opportunity seemed in grave doubt 30 months ago, after a loss to Michael Chiesa by second-round submission – his fifth consecutive defeat. Few UFC fighters lose as many as four straight fights and stay on the roster.

Clearly, that Condit wasn’t cut makes a statement regarding not just his popularity with fans for his aggressive style but for the respect he’s earned within the sport.

His emergence from that slump with two victories speaks, as well, to his skills, determination and self-belief.

“I definitely have a little momentum,” he said, “and it’s nice to see that the things I’ve been working on are clicking when it comes to fight night. So, yeah, I’m very confident.”

Griffin is essentially a striker, and Condit said he’d like nothing better than to trade shots in standup. But should the fight go to the ground, he said, his confidence level would remain the same.

Condit hasn’t won a fight on the ground since defeating Carlo Prater by guillotine choke at the then-Santa Ana Star Center in February 2008. Recently, though, his ground skills got a test when he faced Jake Ellenberger on a Submission Underground grappling card in Portland, Oregon. Condit needed only 1 minute, 15 seconds to beat Ellenberger (whom he also defeated in the Octagon some 12 years ago) via heel hook.

As well, Condit did most of his training for Griffin at Albuquerque’s Dark Haven Studio, where jiujitsu is the specialty.

“I teach MMA over there, but it’s mostly (jiujitsu),” he said. “Then I bring in my striking people and my wrestling coaches and everything.

“I’ve always been confident in my ground skills … (but at Dark Haven) I’ve been able to really prioritize that and bolster that aspect of my game.”

At 37, Condit, a former UFC welterweight interim champion, said he still has ambitions to get back in the rankings and contend for a title. Mostly, though, as it’s been since his MMA debut in September 2002, it’s all about the next fight.

“Working my way up,” he said. “But I honestly think it’s just enjoying every fight as it comes and relishing the opportunity to stand in there at this point after all these years and throw down.

“I love it because any of these could be the last one.”

Condit will be joined on Saturday’s card by Santa Fe flyweight Jerome Rivera (10-5), who’s matched against Zhalmas Zhumagulov of Kazakhstan.

CANNABIS REVISITED: Condit, while saying he won’t be affected, said he’s all in favor of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s announced decision to no longer punish fighters should they test positive for marijuana.

“I think it’s a long time coming,” he said. “I think the benefits (of Cannabis use) for a lot of people for really a lot of different things outweighs any down sides.”

Condit said he has used marijuana in the past but has not done so for the past decade.

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