The upcoming main event fight for UFC 127 just got a little more interesting as UFC President Dana White on Tuesday announced that the winner between Jon Fitch and B.J. Penn would be considered the No. 1 contender at 170lbs.
While the proclamation for the top spot in the title hunt has been declared before, White was willing to state that he believes the winner of Penn vs. Fitch has earned the shot.
“They’re definitely in the title picture. Either guy that wins that fight, let’s face it, the reality is B.J. Penn has held titles in both weight classes, Fitch has fought for the title and has literally dominated that division for a long time, just couldn’t win the title,” White said on Tuesday.
“Either one of these guys that wins this fight is in the mix. They’re the No. 1 guy.”
Jon Fitch has said numerous times in the past that his goal is to get back to the title shot and eventually wear that gold belt around his waist.
For this fight however, Fitch doesn’t want to talk about title shots, he doesn’t want to hear about being a top contender. Even if the UFC President is saying it, Fitch is focused on B.J. Penn and nothing else.
“I don’t want to waste any time thinking about anything other than fighting B.J. right now,” Fitch stated.
How much difference does one fight make when looking at B.J. Penn as well? The Hawaiian icon seemed at a crossroads a few months ago after back-to-back losses to UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Now after knocking out former welterweight champion Matt Hughes in emphatic fashion last November, he could be one fight away from fighting for the 170lb title for a third time.
Penn, much like Fitch, isn’t talking title shots though because none of that happens if he doesn’t win in Australia.
“As of now I’m not even thinking about that,” Penn said about a potential title shot. “I’m not thinking about titles, I’m just happy to fight an opponent of Jon Fitch’s level and Jon Fitch’s stature.”
Penn and Fitch will square off on Feb 27 in Australia, and when the dust settles, it will be interesting to see where the winner fits in the welterweight divisional title picture.