While the exact future of Strikeforce remains to be seen, UFC welterweight contender Carlos Condit (26-5 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is already eyeing a few potential matchups with some of the promotion's top stars.
Namely, Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz (24-7 MMA, 4-0 SF) and his opponent on April 9, Paul Daley (27-9-2 MMA, 2-0 SF). Condit also wants a second crack at the UFC's current No. 1 contender, Jake Shields (26-4-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
"I'm looking to hopefully fight Jake Shields to get that loss back," Condit said at a Friday Q&A session. "Now with the Strikeforce merger, possibly Nick Diaz.
"I was supposed to fight Paul Daley a while back. I got staph infection in my hand and had to pull out of the fight. There's some unfinished business there. I like that fight."
Condit is currently recovering from a knee injury that forced him to withdraw from a planned UFC 127 matchup with Chris Lytle in February. The "Natural Born Killer" said the dislocated kneecap is healing fine with rehab alone and did not require surgery.
He's not sure when he'll return to the cage, but he hopes some key upcoming matchups will produce a suitable opponent.
"I'm still waiting to hear (who I'll fight next)," Condit said. "I think there's some good welterweight fights coming up. When those happen, it will clear up the picture a little bit, and I might have a better idea."
In the meantime, Condit is simply daydreaming about possibilities.
Shields is certainly within reason, whether he comes up short against Georges St-Pierre in April, or if the champ retains his belt but chooses to relinquish the title in favor of a shot at middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva. Condit faced Shields in an April 2006 Rumble on the Rock tourney final but fell short via decision.
Diaz and Daley are a little far-fetched for now, but with the UFC's parent company now in charge of Strikeforce's fighter contracts, Condit may very well lie in each of their futures.
In the meantime, there is one fighter actively pursuing a bout with Condit: UFC Fight Night 24 co-headliner Dan Hardy.
Hardy, of course, was knocked out by Condit this past October. Earlier this week, Hardy said he won't stop fighting until he's able to avenge that loss.
"The thing that I don't like about losing the fight, about getting knocked out, is that my opponent thinks he's better than me," Condit told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "I know that's not the case. I know Carlos Condit's not better than me. I'm annoyed that now he thinks that. I gave him that impression by not giving him the respect in that fight.
"I can't retire until I've knocked him out."
Condit said the result was no fluke, and he currently has no desire to revisit the matchup.
"Honestly, I think he dislikes me more than I dislike him, for obvious reasons," Condit said. "I stood in the cage with that guy, and I'm just telling you, he had nothing – that night, anyway."