The “Natural Born Killer” doesn’t usually spend much time worrying about motivation.
Carlos Condit’s intensity and razor sharp focus in the octagon is unquestioned.
But when he steps into the cage Wednesday night against Martin Kampmann in the main event of UFC Fight Night 27 in Indianapolis, the Albuquerque native has a little more riding on the outcome.
First off, the former interim UFC welterweight champion has a shot to avenge an earlier career loss to Kampmann.
Both fighters are much improved since the “Hitman” won a split decision over Condit in April 2009. Condit (28-7) responded to that loss with five consecutive wins, including capturing the interim UFC welterweight belt – and by all accounts, his career seemed to blossom after the loss.
But that doesn’t mean payback isn’t important to Condit.
“There’s a little bit of a motive for redemption for sure,” Condit told the Journal after a workout last week in his home gym at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA. “But both Martin Kampmann and myself have improved greatly since the first fight. This is going to be a completely different battle.”
Coach Greg Jackson isn’t into playing up motivational tactics like avenging a past loss during camp, but knows Condit is well aware of it.
“We try to keep it out, try to keep it really professional,” Jackson said. “You don’t have to go over your motivation to have it. I’m sure Carlos wants to erase that loss off his record. I have no doubt that’s a big motivating factor because he’s been sharp this camp. He’s been really on fire and I think that might have helped.”
But aside from the potential revenge factor, there is something even bigger on the line Wednesday night for Condit.
Though he remains the No. 2 ranked contender in the UFC’s welterweight division, he is coming off two losses and runs the risk of falling out of main-event type billing on future UFC cards with a third.
“I’m a competitive person and I hate to lose,” Condit said. “I’ve been working really, really hard to get back in the win column.”
It isn’t as though his last two fights weren’t decent performances – a pair of unanimous decision losses to champion Georges St-Pierre in November and to current No. 1 contender Johnny Hendricks in March. But they were losses and a third consecutive loss to a guy ranked just No. 6 in the division would be very damaging.
To avoid that, Condit knows what he has to improve on.
“I’ve switched stuff up a bit,” Condit said. “I’ve been working quite a bit on my wrestling, which in the last two fights was obviously a big factor in why I lost.”
Kampmann (20-6), who like Condit is also coming off a loss to Hendricks, says Condit’s wrestling skills are better than most MMA onlookers give him credit for and has no question he’s still among the very best in the sport.
The former Cibola High Cougar is hoping that holds true on Wednesday.
“First thing’s first,” Condit said. “I have to beat Martin Kampmann and that’s quite a task. But after that, absolutely, I’d love to get back in there with whoever is holding the belt or whoever is between me and a title shot.”