WEC champ ignores speculation

Carlos Condit’s dominance as the World Extreme Cagefighting welterweight champion has led to speculation that he soon might be asked to step up to the UFC.

The 24-year-old native of Albuquerque, N.M., insists his focus is only on the task at hand. Condit will defend his title for the third time today, against Hiromitsu Miura on a WEC card at the Hard Rock hotel.

Since joining the organization, Condit has defeated all four of his opponents by submission, with just one of them surviving the first round.

Condit’s success has spawned talk that he will be moved to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (which, like WEC, is owned by Zuffa, LLC), adding another star to the organization’s 170-pound class.

Condit thinks such talk might be premature.

"That’s kind of up to the upper brass," he said. "My focus is on beating Hiromitsu Miura, who is a tough opponent. I think I’ll have my hands full."

One of those who potentially could be involved in that decision, WEC matchmaker Scott Adams, said no move was imminent.

"As of now, there’s no plans," he said. "He’s still getting established in the WEC, and he’s staying."

Adams added that while some fighters might be distracted or grow overconfident amid this kind of speculation, it won’t happen to Condit.

"I think it could affect some fighters, but him and his camp take every fight very seriously," Adams said. "So while some fighters may have a tough time in that situation, not Carlos Condit."

Two more belts will be on the line today as Brian Stann and Jamie Varner each make their first title defenses.

Varner won the lightweight crown from Rob McCullough in February.

Since then, he has not fought in the cage but did go through another type of battle.

Varner used his newly acquired belt and influence to help get mixed martial arts regulations passed in his home state of Arizona, clearing the way for mainstream MMA organizations to host cards there.

He was one of a few people in the sport to testify before a committee of the Arizona legislature at a hearing on the subject, and all but one of the votes went his way.

"I have a little more pull (now as champion), I guess," Varner said with a smile. "I took the belt with me that day, and all those people wanted to touch it and feel it. I think it helped."

Varner will face Marcus Hicks today.

Stann is a former Marine who was awarded the Silver Star for his heroics on the battlefield, but now he is racking up accolades in the cage.

He is 6-0 with six first-round knockouts, including a 1:35 stoppage of Doug Marshall in March to claim the title.

Stann’s opponent today, Steve Cantwell, is one of his past victims. Stann knocked out Cantwell in 41 seconds in March 2007.

The first bout on the 10-fight card is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m., with the televised main card beginning at 6 live on Versus (Cox 67).

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.

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