Albuquerque’s Carlos Condit, among the most-watched and most-admired fighters in the UFC ranks for more than a decade, has decided to retire.
As first reported by mmafighting.com and confirmed by Condit’s manager, the 37-year-old fighter has opted to fight no more after 19 years in a brutal sport.
“The Natural Born Killer” leaves the cage with a 32-14 record, most of the victories achieved via submission or TKO.
Condit never won a UFC title, though he did wear the organization’s interim welterweight belt for nine months in 2012 after his victory by unanimous decision over Nick Diaz. Condit held the welterweight title in the WEC, a now-defunct UFC circuit that then housed the lighter weight classes.
Fans were drawn to Condit’s typically aggressive style, which contributed to action-fraught fights against the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Dan Hardy, Dong Hyun Kim, Johny Hendricks, George St-Pierre and Robbie Lawler.
The Lawler fight, which many observers felt should have gone to Condit, was particularly memorable.
After a loss by first-round submission to Demian Maia in August 2016, Condit stepped away from the Octagon, pondering retirement, before returning 16 months later. Now, after losing four of his last six fights and six of his last eight, he has decided to move on.
From near and far, praise flowed for Condit as the MMA world learned of his plans.
From MMA journalist Ariel Helwani:
“What a legend. A fighter’s fighter. All action, no nonsense. One of those guys who no doubt turned many people into MMA fans. One of those guys who helped make the sport what it is today.”
From the Instagram account of Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA, where Condit trained during most of his UFC career:
“What an epic career and a wild ride that was for Carlos Condit. JW is wishing you much success and prosperity in all your future endeavors. HOF (Hall of Fame) legend.”
FOREVER A BULLDAWG: UFC veteran Joseph Benavidez, a 2002 Las Cruces High School graduate, on Wednesday announced his retirement.
Benavidez (28-8) had been fighting professionally since 2006. He fought for the UFC flyweight title four times, losing on each occasion.
He trained at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California.
“The news is out – I’ve decided to retire from competing in the sport of MMA,” Benavidez posted on Instagram. “This journey has been more wild than I ever imagined, full of memories that I will always cherish with people I will always love.
“… I’m so grateful for all the ups and downs. It’s truly been an honor to compete for so long.”
UPCOMING: Two teammates from Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA will be in action Saturday on separate cards.
In San Jose, California, J-W light heavyweight Christian Edwards is matched against Tennessee’s Ben Parrish (4-1) on a Bellator card.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, Devin Clark, also a light heavyweight, will face Moldova’s Ion Cutelaba (15-6-1) on a UFC Fight Night card.
For Edwards, the Parrish fight has been a long time coming. Twice earlier this year they were scheduled to meet in the cage; each time, for different reasons, it didn’t happen.
Now, for Edwards, a fight that’s been a long time coming could accelerate his speedy climb up the Bellator light heavyweight ladder.
“Honestly, I do believe that (contender status) is right around the corner,” Edwards, said in a phone interview.
Already, Edwards, 22, has risen to the No. 8 spot in the Bellator rankings after just five fights. All five were victories on Bellator cards, that organization having signed him after his brief but impressive (3-0) amateur career.
The Bellator light-heavyweight division is loaded with proven talent: former UFC title contenders Lyoto Machida (No. 6), Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (No. 4), Phil Davis (No. 3), Corey Anderson (No. 2) and Ryan Bader (No. 1).
Then there’s champion Vadim Nemkov, who rose through the Bellator ranks to defeat Bader for the title and successfully defend against Davis.
Edwards fears none of the above.
“I know people talk and say things, ‘Oh, he hasn’t fought anybody yet,” he said. “But I’m just as capable of doing the exact same things that I’ve done to (previous opponents) to anybody in the top ten. I really believe that.”
Edwards and Parrish originally were to have met in the cage on May 21 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. But Edwards was not cleared to fight after a commission doctor detected an irregular heartbeat during a pre-fight physical exam.
He was cleared to fight the following day – too late to salvage the Parrish fight.
The two then were scheduled to fight at Mohegan Sun on June 25, but Parrish was forced out by injury. Edwards instead faced Simon Biyong, winning impressively by unanimous decision.
DOUBLE THE FUN: Late Thursday night, Jackson-Wink gym manager Michael Lyubimov pointed out that two more J-W fighters will join Clark and Edwards on Saturday’s cards: Antonio Arroyo (UFC) and Khalid Murtazaliev (Bellator).
Arroyo (9-4), a Brazilian middleweight/light heavyweight, is matched against Joaquin Buckley (12-4) of St. Louis.
Murtazaliev (15-1), a Russian middleweight, is scheduled to face Anthony Adams (8-2) of Aurora, Colorado.