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Fitch: “I think I should be fighting for the title. But I’ve been given a huge opportunity here to fight B.J. Penn, and that’s a big fight, belt or no belt.”

With a 13-1 record in the Octagon, a five-fight win streak, and his last loss other than to Georges St. Pierre occurring more than eight years ago, it seems as though Jon Fitch would be a lock for another crack at solving the mystery of the welterweight champ.

Since dropping a convincing five-round decision to GSP in August 2008 the former Purdue Boilermaker has gone on to defeat the likes of respected foes such as Paulo Thiago, Ben Saunders, and Thiago Alves. However, all of the victories came by way of decision, and fighters who don’t finish opponents with consistency in a business requiring mainstream marketability the image of a hard-working grinder doesn’t necessarily resonate with the public as a trash-talking striker or newly-signed champion might.

As a result, rather than having the opportunity to avenge his loss to St. Pierre, Fitch will watch former Strikeforce middleweight title-holder Jake Shields face the welterweight phenom and instead take on MMA icon B.J. Penn in the headlining bout at UFC 127 scheduled for February 26 at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. However, simply because a belt won’t be on the line at the event isn’t to say Fitch doesn’t understand the importance of who he will be facing.

“I think I’m better than Jake. I think I should be fighting for the title. But I’ve been given a huge opportunity here to fight Penn, and that’s a big fight, belt or no belt,” the American Kickboxing Academy staple explained to media in a recent press conference to promote the upcoming show.

In regards to his inability to put opponents away over the last few years, Fitch equated it in terms of baseball.

“I am a homerun hitter who has hit a slump. But in my slump, I am still beating top guys pretty easy,” the 23-3 welterweight began. “Now with the improvements I’ve made in the gym, the slump is over and I am going to hit a homerun (at UFC 127). I am going to be a world champion, and I know before that happens I need to finish Penn.”

Of Fitch’s thirteen wins in the Octagon only four have been the result of a TKO/submission with the last scorecard-avoiding outcome occurring in mid-2007 against Roan Carneiro.

Then again, that doesn’t mean Fitch is letting the pressure get to him, as he in fact has a far more playful reason to be motivated towards his ultimate goal of beating the well-rounded Hawaiian.

“This is a fun fight for me,” he continued on the subject of his match-up with Penn. “I haven’t been this motivated since I fought for the title. B.J. has roots at the AKA Gym where I train and my own coaches talk about him and what he did in the gym back in the day. And I am kinda sick of hearing it; I am like the younger brother who wants to outshine the cool older brother who achieved all these things.”

In addition to Fitch vs. Penn, the main card of UFC 127 will feature George Sotiropoulos facing Dennis Siver, Carlos Condit crossing paths with Chris Lytle, Michael Bisping taking on Jorge Rivera, and Ross Pearson against Spencer Fisher.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

14 COMMENTS
  • fanoftna33 says:

    I would think his last loss was more than 8 years ago.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    This should be a hell of a fight, Fitch has a huge reach advantage over Penn and the wrestling along with his submission defense( the guy cannot be choked out) All he lacks is the striking game to give Penn trouble, and that is where it gets very interesting. If Penn comes out like a ball of fire again and stuffs some takedowns he just may be the first guy to stop Fitch in the UFC.

  • boomnutz says:

    his last loss was to GSP….

    Anyway, this should be a sick fight, it will be completely predicated on Fitch’s ability to take down BJ, if BJ can stuff the takedowns he’ll have a got shot of hurting Fitch with his standup, one thing i’ll guarantee is that if BJ gets his back and wraps his leg around Fitch’s arm, even Fitch will get choked out, if BJ hits his rear-naked, it’s lights out, but that’s a big if…Both of these guys should be supremely motivated, and we could be seeing 2a and 2b of the welterweight division, i’m not saying i think they’re 2a and 2b, but after a few fights with the top guys, this could be the case.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I meant less than 8 years ago.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I dont know about that choke, many guys have tried- Thiago, Deigo, Carnero all had very tight chokes on Jon and he got through it just fine, I really dont see anybody getting him by choke. Even Penn.

  • boomnutz says:

    but they always try guillotines, the rear-naked the way BJ slaps it on, is impossible to defend, the only thing that could save him is the clock, although getting to Fitch’s back and getting an arm-in body triangle on Fitch, is a LOT easier said than done…i don’t think he can pull it off, but nothing would surprise me, especially from BJ

  • Angry Mike says:

    BJ will try to beat him standing. He hasn’t tried much offense off his back in recent fights. Whether Fitch can take him to the ground is the real question. BJ’s pretty effective at avoiding take downs, and if Fitch’s attempts are repeatedly stuffed, he’s in for a long night and a loss.

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Was supposed to read “…last loss other than to GSP…” Thanks for keeping an eye out though! :)

  • This is one of those fights that I have this feeling is going to have a lot of unwarranted intrigue. BJ isnt washed up by any means but Fitch is an awful match up for him. Fitch has good technical striking( The last Alves fight he threw outstanding combos and Alves is a much better/less predictable striker than Penn) , an Ace wrestling game and otherworldly sub defense….Roan Carnerio had him in a deep anaconda and Fitch survived it to come back and choke him out. I see this going the usual way of the Fitch…3 rounds of BJ struggling to do something off of his back…however, Fitch is bigger than hughes ever was and I can see BJ gassing mid second and getting TKO’d mid third due to not responding due to gasping for air.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Brendhan, dont worry I tried to correct you and wrote it wrong myself.

  • MickeyC says:

    Fitch should be fighting GSP. The only reason sheilds is cause Dana used the shot to get him over. I do not care that Fitches record has abunch of des. I do not have the stats in front of me, but GSP is not the biggest finisher either. He’s probably 50/50 in his last 8. I don’t think Dana cares much for jon. Remember when he fired him for a day or so. & AKA not fighting each other probably has a little to do with it.

  • RicM says:

    Fitch already stated that if Kos won the title,he would move up because he won’t fight a team-mate….Dana White said that was a foolish statement,and now suddenly Jake Shields has the next shot at GSP…..I don’t think Fitch will get another shot at WW gold,due to the fact you don’t cross Dana White.Besides,by making that statement,(in my mind),Fitch is showing he’s not 100% committed to being world champ. If your not willing to fight ANYONE for a world title (teammate included) then do you really think Dana White will give you that shot?Hell no!!Fitch screwed himself by making that statement,plain and simple.

  • Angry Mike says:

    White shouldn’t care about Fitch’s statement. Kos will never beat GSP, and I doubt that Fitch will, either. Why stress over improbable hypotheticals? Besides, if Kos and Fitch had to fight each other for the belt, they would. They are far too competitive to walk away from a championship.

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