One of the more anticipated fights of the UFC’s return to Washington, D.C. was abruptly cut in half as Carlos Condit was forced to withdraw from his scheduled fight with Mickey Gall.
UFC on ESPN 7 will take place Dec. 7 at Capital One Arena in the Nation’s Capital and will be headlined by a heavyweight showdown between Alistair Overeem and the surging Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
For Gall, it was a huge opportunity to face a legend of the sport to build on his most recent win against Salim Touahri at UFC Newark in August. In the case of Condit, an opportunity to get back on track has unfortunately gone away due to an eye injury in preparation for the fight.
The 27-year-old Gall hopes to remain on the card and, as expected, there has been no shortage of fighters willing to step in and replace Condit. If you are Gall, it will be tough to find an opponent with the name value and legendary status that Condit has built for himself throughout his career. If Gall were to decide to hold off and wait for Condit to heal up, there would certainly be nothing wrong with that line of thinking.
Should the 6-2 Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt choose to remain on the card, here are five potential options that he could face, in no particular order.
1. Anthony Rocco Martin
After picking up a victory this past weekend, Anthony Rocco Martin has been quietly emerging as one of the welterweight division’s contenders. Now 5-1 in the Octagon since moving up from 155-pounds, Rocco Martin defeated a very tough Ramazan Emeev by unanimous decision at UFC Moscow.
The lone setback at 170 for Martin was at June’s UFC Minneapolis card when he faced Demian Maia. The multi-time world title challenger was able to get the victory via majority decision, but Martin was able to snatch all of the fight’s momentum over the final round. Had the fight gone five rounds, it would be hard to argue that Martin would be on a six-fight winning streak right now.
Martin has confirmed to MyMMANews.com that he is quite interested in stepping in for Condit at UFC DC. In addition, the 29-year-old ATT Atlanta product has one fight left on his current contract. Martin has had a lot to say over the years when it comes to the UFC — more specifically Sean Shelby — and is looking to repair his relationship with the UFC. Stepping in to save a pivotal matchup less than a month after a hard fought win would go a long way in helping with that goal.
2. Diego Sanchez
I know what you’re thinking: they just fought earlier this year and Sanchez picked up a TKO win. I completely understand why you would think that way. I also understand that Sanchez’s status with the UFC is a bit in flux after Lethwei fighter Dave Leduc appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience and stated the TUF 1 winner is “not in the UFC anymore”.
There are some potential hurdles here, no doubt about it. However, if the UFC called Gall right this second and put this matchup in front of him, I would have a hard time believing he would even let that question be completed without saying yes.
While the fight at UFC 235 went Sanchez’s way, Gall was suffering from kidney failure heading into the matchup. Following his victory over Touahri at UFC Newark, Gall called for a rematch with Sanchez for the chance to right the wrong.
Although it may be an unlikely choice, Gall would take it for sure, and when was the last time Sanchez didn’t jump on an opportunity to compete?
3. Belal Muhammad
I want to preface this one by saying I have no idea what Muhammad’s current health status looks like after his third round submission win over Takashi Sato at September’s UFC 242 event.
One thing I can say is that “Remember the Name” has been hoping for the opportunity to share the cage with Gall for years. Following his short notice victory over Randy Brown at UFC 208 in February 2017, Muhammad told MyMMANews.com that had Joe Rogan given him the microphone in Brooklyn, he would’ve called out Gall.
“A fight that I want to have, I want to fight Mickey Gall,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad is a teammate of former WWE superstar CM Punk, who Gall defeated at UFC 203 in September 2016 via first round submission.
“The fact that he beat Punk and then he talks trash afterward. I just hate his attitude. The fact that when he beat Sage Northcutt he talked trash. See, I don’t think he’s good. I think he’s just a talker, and the way he beat them guys, I just don’t think he’s really that good. I think I’d dominate him. I think he’s acting like he’s better than he really is. That’s one of the fights that I really want.”
The 31-year-old Muhammad has won six out of his last seven fights and is more than likely just outside of the top-15 in a loaded welterweight division. At this point, Muhammad hasn’t expressed interest in replacing Condit. Should the opportunity knock, it would be a good test for Gall against a popular fighter and a chance to avenge a teammate’s loss for Muhammad.
4. Ross Houston
Personally, I have a hard time believing a fighter not currently on the UFC roster will replace Condit. Call it journalistic intuition. With that being said, if the UFC were to go this route, Ross Houston would be a guy that should be at the top of the list.
The current Cage Warriors welterweight champion has yet to taste defeat in his mixed martial arts career. After capturing the title at Cage Warriors 98 in August 2018, “The Hitman” had an absolute war with, then, interim champ Nicolas Dalby in the main event of Cage Warriors 106: Night of Champions. In the third round of one of the best fights of 2019, referee Marc Goddard called a stop to the action and declared the bout a no contest due to excessive blood rendering the cage unsafe to continue.
Dalby has since returned to the UFC and picked up a victory. Houston, a product of SBG Ireland, is most deserving of an opportunity to fight in the hallowed Octagon. Whether or not it is this opportunity to make his presence felt in the US, Houston will get his shot sooner than later. In my opinion, if this is the path the UFC wants to go in bringing in a debuting fighter, Houston has to be in consideration.
5. Kevin Holland
If there is anybody who would not be opposed to taking a short notice fight — and do so in a different weight class — Kevin Holland would be that guy.
After picking up a dominant unanimous decision win on Dana White’s Contender Series, Holland wasn’t awarded a UFC contract on that night in June 2018. Two months later, Holland’s phone would ring and he would make his Octagon debut on short notice against Thiago Santos, a guy who has since moved up to light heavyweight and challenged Jon Jones for the 205-pound title, and a guy who has finished all of his victories since 2016 to that point.
“Trail Blazer” went in there, talked smack for most of the fight and would lose a unanimous decision. More importantly, Holland left a lasting impression on UFC president Dana White.
Heading into his most recent fight at UFC Boston, the 27-year-old Holland told James Lynch of TheScore that he planned to make the move to 170-pounds. Holland would lose a back-and-forth battle with Brendan Allen at the event, succumbing to a rear naked choke in the second round.
Both Gall and Holland love to talk trash and a short build-up for Dec. 7 would be a lot of fun to watch should Holland get the call.
All in all, there are other options that could step in there to replace Carlos Condit. Who do you think would be a suitable opponent for Mickey Gall if he were to remain on the UFC’s return to Washington, D.C. next month?