Fighters all have something in common that goes much deeper than some cliché about brotherhood among martial artists, or all of them growing up watching The Karate Kid and old Bruce Lee movies before strapping on a set of gloves for the first time.
The real heart of fighting comes down to competition—one winner and one loser—and it's pretty safe to say no man or woman who steps inside the cage or ring ever wants to walk out defeated.
Fighters have a visceral need to succeed.
Certainly, a fight that fans love or the bosses adore will lessen the sting of defeat just a little bit, and a nice fat bonus check from the higher-ups never hurts either.
But it's hard to imagine that any fighter on planet Earth wouldn't give up the accolades or even a little bit of cash to erase a loss and replace it with a win.
It's the very nature of that beast, that thirst that cannot be satisfied, that is the heart of a fighter's need to avenge a loss.
UFC welterweight Carlos Condit understands that concept all too well.
While the former interim champion hasn't lost many fights during his nearly 11-year career, any time a fighter has gotten the best of him, he's always yearned for a chance to right that wrong.
It's impossible to know if Condit will ever get the chance to avenge all of his past losses, but he gets at least one crack at his next fight when he takes on Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27 in Indianapolis.
When the pair of welterweights first fought, it was Condit's UFC debut after his time spent as champion in the WEC. The two battled it out in a war of attrition over 15 minutes. The judges were split in their decision, but ultimately the win came for Kampmann.
The fact that the fight was so close haunts Condit even more than if he truly knew he just lost to the better man that night.
"I would definitely agree with that," Condit said when asked if rematches are always important to a fighter. "Especially close fights, close decision fights. Judging is subjective, and especially in the cases of a split decision, a lot of people would have scored (the first Kampmann) fight the other way around.
"I felt I could do better, and I guess anyone that loses a fight feels they could do better, but I definitely felt I could have done better. I'm excited that I have the opportunity to come in and fight a better Martin Kampmann. I think he's improved quite a bit from our first fight, but I know I have as well."
There's something ingrained in human nature to be competitive. Whether it's a friendly game of chess or playing video games online, everybody wants to win, to feel that sense of accomplishment in victory. Now, if you take that feeling, multiply it 1,000 times over, and compound that over a lifetime, it might equal out to the competitive spirit flowing through the average MMA fighter.
Unlike other sports like basketball where there are 82 games in a season, in MMA there's rarely a second chance to relive a first mistake. One fight can be the difference between greatness or mediocrity, having a job or not paying the bills. Even if a loss doesn't necessarily have longstanding ramifications, it's still a feeling a fighter like Condit never wants to suffer through.
"We’re all super-competitive people to be at this level of the sport," Condit stated. "Everybody is a competitor at heart, and none of us take losing lightly. We always want redemption and revenge."
When Condit attempts to satisfy the anguish he feels from his last loss to Kampmann, the look on his face probably won't be much different than any other time he steps into the cage.
Condit is usually a laid-back, very soft-spoken person carrying a veneer that quietly screams calm, cool and collected. It's the moment that the cage door closes that Condit curls his lip, bites down on his mouthpiece and proceeds to unleash violence on his opponents so viciously that when it's over, they are left blood-soaked, bruised and looking like they are ready for a guest spot on The Walking Dead.
Condit also goes through the rigors of those battles, so when a decision is read that doesn't lead with his name as the winner, it's like a gunshot to the gut that bleeds out for days.
The former UFC champion never wants to feel that way again. When he's done with Kampmann this time, he plans on leaving little doubt who stands as victor and who might need a plastic surgeon when the fight is over.
"I think we're two of the best welterweights in our primes. We're both hungry, we're both coming off losses and we're trying to get back in the win column," Condit said. "That's going to make for an explosive combination.
"We had a close fight the first time around, we're both looking for redemption in a sense. A bigger part of that is we're both coming off losses, so we're trying to get back on track to our goals of being the best, being champion."
Condit's focus is like never before because he's had to taste two defeats in a row, something he's only experienced one other time in his career.
The aftershock from the last time Condit lost two in a row?
He proceeded to win eight consecutive fights while becoming the WEC welterweight champion, eviscerating all eight opponents by TKO or submission. The loss that stopped his streak the last time was the fight against Martin Kampmann.
Condit certainly remembers, and he will remind Kampmann of it as well with every punch thrown and every kick landed until the referee is tackling him and screaming, "Stop, the fight is over!"
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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