Carlos Condit: How His Potential Absence Hurts the Welterweight Division

Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

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Lots of fighters won at UFC 171 on Saturday night, and an equal number lost. That's the nature of MMA, but it may have been Carlos Condit who lost the most of anyone.

Condit, in the midst of a battle that could have made him the top contender for Johny Hendricks and his newly minted UFC title, had his knee give way after an exchange with opponent Tyron Woodley. With "The Natural Born Killer" unable to continue, the bout was halted. He was saddled with a loss, which dashed his title hopes for the time being.

The injury looked bad. His knee buckled awkwardly, and devoid of all stability, he went crashing to the ground. Those injuries are usually ligaments, and they take quite awhile to heal—usually several months.

While that's horrible news for Condit, it's not any better for the UFC or the welterweight class. A potential Condit absence is problematic for a number of reasons, and pretty much anyone with a stake in the 170-pound division will be affected.

The UFC loses one of its most exciting contendersa guy who can be relied upon to make things interesting against any opponent in any circumstance. He's also relevant enough to be a draw on any of the UFC's broadcasting platforms.

He's the type of commodity that isn't expendable.

Fans across the board are unanimous on him as well, as no one can disparage his showings in the cage. It's near blasphemy to dislike Condit, who has built a reputation on finishing fights in as spectacular a manner as he can muster every time out.

And, of course, Condit is being robbed of his prime with every minute he'll spend rehabbing his knee. It doesn't matter if it's six hours or six monthsat 29 years old, the New Mexican is just entering the point in his career where his years of experience will mesh with his athletic peak and propel him to his best chance at a world title.

As a result, no one will feel his absence from the sport more than he will.

The fact of the matter is that there aren't many Carlos Condits in MMA. There aren't many guys who are universally revered from every anglebe it promoter, promotion, opponents or fansand have earned that reverence through pure commitment to the sport.

Condit is that guy, and without him, the entire welterweight division has a little less bite.

All anyone can hope is that he's not out too long, and that the inevitable hodge-podge of contenders that will emerge as he's sidelined doesn't muddy the waters too much. After all, when he comes back, he's going to be interested in regaining his place near the top of the heap.

For the sake of an intriguing welterweight division, everyone else should share that interest as well.