The Fight Horizon – Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley

In today’s Mixed Martial Arts, new fights are announced so often it’s difficult to keep track of all of them, let alone understand how they came about and what the implications are. So twice a week here at The Fight Horizon on Inside Fights, writer Daniel Sohn takes a quick, but in-depth look at newly announced match-ups to mark on your calendar.

The Matchup:

Tyron Woodley (12-2 overall, 2-1 UFC)

Strengths: Phenomenal explosiveness, power and athleticism, strong wrestling

Weaknesses: A little raw, unpolished

Carlos Condit (29-7 overall, 6-3 UFC)

Strengths: Iron chin, versatile striking and KO power

Weaknesses: Takedown defense

The Date: March 15, 2014 at UFC 171

Weight Class: Welterweight

What led to it: So much for Condit waiting for Matt Brown to heal up. Apparently, the UFC and Condit worked out an agreement and now he meets Tyron Woodley on the same card where Johny Hendricks faces Robbie Lawler for the now vacant UFC welterweight title. Woodley recently finished Josh Koscheck in jaw-dropping, absolutely devastating fashion to earn a shot at someone higher up the ladder, while Condit found a way to finish Martin Kampmann in their rematch. Both of these guys need a top tier opponent now and with Matt Brown out, this one makes a ton of sense.

Why it matters:  This match is for all intents and purposes, a title eliminator. The winner will almost certainly get a crack at the winner of Hendricks vs. Lawler. Regardless of whether Johny Hendricks or Robbie Lawler wins, either Condit or Woodley should be the next guy in line. Had GSP still been champ, it would be a different story, but now that the long-dominant champion has vacated the belt, all bets are off. Condit’s fight with Hendricks was very exciting, and it was close enough to warrant a rematch, whether for the title or not. And a matchup between Condit and Lawler would be a fight fan’s dream, one of those fight of the night (and year) potential type of fights.

Condit came a hair away from dethroning GSP with that head kick, but wasn’t able to put him away. He followed that up with a razor thin decision loss to Johny Hendricks, a fight that many felt he would have won had it gone to championship rounds. He’s clearly a championship caliber fighter, and he’s going to have to bring his A-game to take down Tyron Woodley. Condit displayed an iron chin against Johny Hendricks, and pretty much every other opponent he’s faced, but if he wants another crack at the gold, he’ll need to get past Woodley, who might be the most powerful striker in all of MMA, let alone the UFC’s welterweight division.

Woodley on the other hand, with a win over Condit, would have done enough to warrant a shot at either Hendricks or Lawler, and he has the explosive potential to make either matchup viable. He’s still a little bit rough in some areas, but after his finishes of Jay Hieron and now Josh Koscheck, can anyone doubt that he has the goods to hang with Johny Hendricks or Robbie Lawler? It may be a bit much and a bit soon, but let’s not forget Woodley competed for the Strikeforce championship already. If he can get a big win over Carlos Condit, that’s a huge wave of momentum to ride into a championship fight, one which he could very well win.

Both of these guys are that close for a shot at championship gold. 171 already features the headlining Hendricks vs. Lawler. It’s looking like these two will fight in the co-main event, to see who gets a shot at whoever the newly crowned champion is.

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