Diaz, Condit fight for interim belt at UFC 143

Crazy times are guaranteed to take place tonight at Mandalay Bay during UFC 143.

For the first time in three years someone other than Georges St. Pierre will wrap the UFC’s welterweight championship—of the interim variety—around their waist, but the burning question is who will that man be: UFC’s bad-boy villain Nick Diaz or red-hot contender Carlos Condit.

GSP knows whom he wants to fight in the fall when he returns from an ACL injury.

“I respect Carlos Condit, but I want Diaz to win,” the Canadian champ said earlier this week. “It will be a weird feeling, sitting at Mandalay Bay wanting Nick Diaz to win. I want this fight with Diaz so badly, as badly as I wanted the title shot when I got down on my knees (for a rematch with Matt Hughes).

“I have never asked (UFC president) Dana White for anything, but I did ask to fight Nick Diaz. … He needs to hold up his part and beat Carlos Condit on Saturday to make this fight happen.”

While Diaz (27-7 1 NC MMA record), the former Strikeforce 170-pound champ, is on an 11-fight win streak—including a dismantling of former UFC champion BJ Penn in his last fight in October—Condit (27-5) presents a serious challenge. The Greg Jackson-trained fighter has won 12 of his last 13 fights and has the kind of knockout abilities that could make the main event a short-lived one.

“I feel like they have planned that fight before this one,” Condit said of GSP-Diaz, which was supposed to headline this card before GSP suffered a knee injury in training.

“That’s fine, because I have the opportunity to go in there and spoil those plans.”

But not if Diaz has anything to say (or not say) about it.

While Diaz, a dominant boxer and jiu-jitsu specialist, can overwhelm opponents in the cage with his persistent punching-attack, outside the Octagon the Stockton, Calif. native is the most puzzling personality in MMA. Most of the time it seems Diaz despises the media as he often refuses to answer questions. Or when he does, his responses are often rambling retorts way off topic.

Diaz insists his reputation is misunderstood, but he really doesn’t care how people perceive him because all he wants to do is fight.

“People say I’m crazy or I act like I’m crazy like I put on an act. I’m not putting on an act,” he said. “I’m just going out there trying to win fights. What do you want from me?

“What you see is what you get. You get a real martial artist, real fighting, a real warrior mentality. Some people aren’t mature enough to handle it.”