Should there be an immediate rematch between Lawler and Condit? Why or why not? Who should get that next fight with Lawler otherwise?
MICHAEL BANE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I’m not a huge fan of immediate rematches in general, and even less one of the subjective reasoning usually used to debate them. Just because so-and-so got a rematch, doesn’t mean we should view all potential rematches with the same qualifiers. A common argument for Jose Aldo getting a rematch was that if Cain Velasquez got one, of course Aldo deserved it. Sure there’s logic to it, but rematches should be judged in a vacuum, based on the respective fighters and the status of their division. Yes, that’s my subjective reasoning, of which I am a fan.
As far as Lawler vs. Condit? Book it. The fight itself was compelling and exciting, one of the better title bouts we’ve seen in UFC history. While that alone wouldn’t necessarily make me set an immediate rematch, it is a great point in favor for it. The lack of other compelling options in the welterweight division seals the deal for me. Rory MacDonald, currently ranked #1, just lost to Lawler for the second time in his last fight. He’s out. Number two, Tyron Woodley, was boring as ever in a split decision victory over a guy who belonged in the hospital that night, not in the Octagon. Oh, he also lost to Jake Shields, someone who isn’t in the UFC and no one misses. Johny Hendricks can’t make weight, and has a fight scheduled anyway. At number five, Damien Maia’s current four fight winning streak features a signature win over, Neil Magny? Gunnar Nelson? Oh yeah, he also lost to Jake Shields. Matt Brown has only won one of his last three, which included a loss to the current champ, and he also has a fight scheduled when he welcomes Donald Cerrone to the welterweight division.
If you find yourself arguing at this point for Dong Hyun Kim, Magny, or any of the other top 15 fighting Lawler, you can pretty much kiss your hope of ever landing a UFC booking position goodbye. Those fights should not happen yet, and possibly ever. Make Woodley and Maia fight each other, and then see if anyone cares about the winner after they’re done (no one will). In the meantime, schedule Hector Lombard and MacDonald, and see what happens with Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson. Making Lawler vs. Condit 2 will give the fans a treat, and buy some time for a more interesting contender to emerge. Hopefully, Lombard or Thompson makes a statement to set up a fun fight with the winner of a Lawler/Condit rematch (and spares us Woodley in a title fight, and to a lesser extent, Maia). Of course, GSP could always come back to challenge for the belt at UFC 200. Yeah, that would be cool. Sorry everyone else in the division, I already forgot who you were.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
This is one of those unique cases where I would ask the challenger if he wanted the immediate rematch or if he wanted more time to prepare. I would ask Condit if he wants the immediate rematch. If he says yes, I give it to him. If he says no, then I go with Tyron Woodley. If Condit were to lose to Lawler again, then his future title chances take a big hit. Because Condit should have won the first fight, I give him first say at the next title shot. The reason for that is that if he loses again, he won’t get another title shot anytime soon. I now this puts Woodley in a bad spot, but this is a special circumstance.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
There needs to be a rematch. The only other two guys in the division in striking range are Woodley and Hendricks, and neither one of those guys is going to come in and give the level of a fight that Carlos Condit is able to give Robbie Lawler. Both men are battle tested veterans with championship elite ability in their blood, and are pedigreed to be at the top of the sport and division. No other fight should even be considered right now.
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I’m getting sick of immediate rematches to be honest, but I’m absolutely willing to make an exception for this one, with my primary reasoning not being the controversial decision made by the judges. Hell, it isn’t even the sheer pleasure of seeing these two throwdown once again (though both of those reasons only solidify my thinking). Who else is worthy of the title shot? The two obvious answers are Johny Hendricks and Rory MacDonald, but Hendricks needs to establish that he can make weight consistently, as he was recently hospitalized by a bad weight cut that forced him out of a scheduled fight, and MacDonald is coming off of a title fight loss, his second loss to Lawler. So who is left?
Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia are the best viable candidates, but neither have the signature win needed in their recent stretch of victories to put them over the top. Yes, Woodley owns a win over Condit and was ahead of the scorecards before Condit blew out his ACL, but he also lost a noncompetitive fight to Rory MacDonald and looked absolutely uninspired in his win over Kelvin Gastelum… the same Gastelum who had spent the previous day in the hospital due to a bad weight cut. Now he is dubbed the #1 contender because he made weight when Hendricks couldn’t? If making weight is the only prerequisite to be #1 contender, I know a bunch of people who have a valid argument. Maia has looked awesome in his four fight win streak, but his best win in that stretch is either Neil Magny or Gunnar Nelson, depending on your point of view. That doesn’t get me excited for him to fight for the title either.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
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