Carlos Condit is a former mixed martial artist. He turned professional at 18 years old, and went on to compete in the Welterweight division in the UFC where he was the former Interim UFC Welterweight Champion. He also fought in the WEC, where he was the final Welterweight Champion. He’s competed for both Shootboxing and Pancrase in Japan. With a total of 51 wins in his career as a fighter and his success launching several business ventures (including a coffee shop and a line of custom jeans), to say Carlos is a renaissance man is an understatement.
Chin down, hands up, and go out there and bury that motherf***er.
PASSION AT THE CORE = SUCCESS
Carlos told me the key to his success lies in the passion that pushed him through his career:
“I loved to fight. There are things you love and things you don’t. I hope everyone finds their thing in life, and is able to pursue it. I fought for a long time… To fight at that level it’s an entire lifestyle. My entire day is train, sleep, recover, etc. So to live something you have to have a deep drive to do it. It’s unreasonable, sometimes it’s illogical, but the passion pushes you through that to the results. The majority of people are unfortunately corralled into doing something they don’t really love.
Colt: What does that kind of lifestyle look like?
Carlos: Well the intensity varies. It’s not always cardio-vascularly taxing, you know. Sometimes it’s skills training. Sometimes we’d get up first thing in the morning and spar… Mixed martial arts is highly dynamic. There’s a ton of different things to do – you have to work on boxing, grappling, stand-up wrestling, strength and conditioning, eating and recovery…
Colt: Did you take rest days?
Carlos: There’s no way you can’t. If you wake up and eat your breakfast and drink your coffee and fight someone, there’s no way you can go without rest days. When you’re young and dumb you try and push through it, but the rest days are essential.
MISPERCEPTION IS INEVITABLE
When I asked Carlos what he thought the biggest public misconception about his was, he said: Well, who I’ve been in the public eye is very… narrow. It’s not that it’s broadly false or anything, but it’s just one part of who I am. The interviews and the fighting is a big part of me, but there’s a whole bunch of other stuff I have an interest in that most people don’t see.” He’s an accomplished fighter, but he’s also an entrepreneur and a father. Since his last fight in 2021, Carlos fills up his time to study, learn, challenge himself in new ways, and be a good dad. We met in one of his properties that he did all the interior design for, with a copy of The Cradle of Civilization on the coffee table.
Colt: I feel like if I was in your shoes I would feel this pressure to continue fighting, continue winning, and having to work so hard to stay at the top.
Carlos: I did that for about 20 years. As much as you train it doesn’t mean you’re going to win… I’m glad to be done, now I have more time for other things.
Colt: What are things you’re passionate about right now?
Carlos: I have lots of interests, I’m a very curious person. I’m restless by nature, and my curiosity drives me to evolve and learn things. I was so focused on doing one particular thing for so long that now I have lot of energy to do new things and explore.
EVERY ACTION CREATES A RIPPLE EFFECT
“I’m not religious, but I would say I’m deeply spiritual. That looks like meditation and pausing to take life in deeply. My best friend died a year ago, he died of covid. He was in a coma briefly, and I felt that what he would’ve wanted for me in that time was to be really present with the things I love. My kids, jujitsu, the things that bring me joy… That’s a little fluffy but it’s just about making a point to be present.” I asked Carlos what he thinks happens when we die: “I think the thing we call God is much bigger than our monkey brains can comprehend. I think there’s bigger things out there that we aren’t even thinking about. I think modern religions have kind of gone away from that shamanistic and trans-dimensional type of exploration of spirituality. But I’m really intrigued by connection -- the way things are connected with one another in general. Many religions talk about that and I think they’re really all talking about the same thing… I think more along the lines of energy and ripple effects of things we do in life. The things we do we have no idea what good or bad will ripple out of it. It’s like the butterfly effect. If you’re tapping into patterns that do good and have a positive impact, then that will produce more good… Right now I’m passionate about sharing my experience fighting with people. It’s been so incredibly transformative for me, and I see young people come in and develop personally from it beyond fighting.
“Seeking validation from others.”
Colt: Who do you try to seek that from?
Carlos: I was throw into the fight life when I was young, and at 19 I was starting to get accolades. And my low-self-esteem turned into all this confidence. But that confidence, that validation, didn’t come from where I needed it, it came from strangers – people who saw me in that narrow way.
Colt: I think most of us have that tendency. Who are those people now that you seek validation from? Family, friends?
Carlos: Right now, the only opinions of me that matter are my kid’s.
“My personal relationships.”
I’m big on the idea that human connection is something we’re all lacking. We’re in a world where we’re more digitally bound to one another than ever, and lonelier than ever. Carlos has experience some of that loneliness from the narrow way in which the public has perceived him: “I have plenty of friends who know me for who I am. But I don’t have a ton of time to spend with friends… And the kind of friends who I want to have don’t have a lot of time to spend with me (they have kids, they’re working their asses off, you know)… As far as the public eye goes, I guess I’m trying to take layers off – and I have been. I feel like I don’t need to be anyone expect whoever I want to be. And that helps with the validation issue. We put the mask on so that we’re appropriate and acceptable for mass consumption and I don’t feel a pressure to that.”
Colt: When you mentioned personal relationship is there something specific you’re trying to work on?
Carlos: I think I take on a lot of people’s energy, especially people I’m close to. And if it’s a person who’s open, I can be a safe person for them, and that’s great, but it can be exhausting. I try to help everybody, sometimes to my own detriment.
Colt: Why do you think you have that impulse?
Carlos: Probably because my mom struggled with mental illness, and I dealt with that growing up, and there was a part of me as a kid that wanted to help. So I have a rescue/savior type of thing… I have a thing for a broken wing.
Colt: Would you say you’re happy?
Carlos: I am. I’m fulfilled. I definitely have some chaos in my life, but I think I thrive in that chaos, and in my new business ventures I’m not bored, I’m in business college basically. It’s really cool. I have people in the office I can ask any question and they’ll give me a 30 minute lecture. It’s cool.
Colt: What do you think your 45 year old self would tell you right now?
Carlos: Oh man… To refocus and prioritize. I know the things I need to prioritize, but there’s shiny things and pretty girls and other distractions… So I think my 45 year old self would tell me to be conservative with the energy I put out, and use it wisely and accordingly.