For the last couple of years, Jon Fitch has become the forgotten contender in the UFC’s welterweight title picture.
The American Kickboxing Academy standout has an astonishing 13-1 record in the UFC, with his lone loss coming to the current 170-pound champion Georges St-Pierre.
Fitch has also never backed down from proclaiming his goal of wanting another crack at St-Pierre and the title. He was even supposed to get that title shot after beating Thiago Alves last August, but it never materialized.
The former Purdue wrestler also stated, when he made an initial trip to Australia to promote his upcoming fight against B.J. Penn, that he believed it should be him fighting St-Pierre in Toronto at UFC 129 and not Jake Shields, who got the shot.
“I think I’m better than Jake. I think I should be fighting for the title,” Fitch said.
With his fight against Penn now just a couple of weeks away, Fitch has stopped talking about title shots or potential rematches against St-Pierre. He’s not even worried about being considered the top contender anymore.
All of that falls by the wayside now because he knows Penn is someone you can never underestimate.
“This fight is such a huge fight with B.J. and I have a lot of responsibility to carry with this fight being the main event in Australia my focus is B.J. Penn. That’s all I’m worried about or thinking about right now,” Fitch said in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio.
Even with the premise that St-Pierre may leave the division if he beats Shields in April, again Fitch isn’t taking the bait. He’s only got one concern in mind, and it’s a former champion from Hawaii who wants to take his head off in Australia.
“For right now, all I see in front of me is B.J. Penn,” Fitch stated.
His new state of mind doesn’t mean Fitch has stopped thinking about becoming the champion in the welterweight division.
Far from it.
If anything the division is more wide open now than ever before. He’s long been hounded about a possible fight against close friend and teammate Josh Koscheck, but with his loss to St-Pierre last December, they won’t be facing each other for the belt any time soon.
Fitch will always have his eyes on the prize, but he’s not going to fall off a cliff at UFC 127 by reaching for the stars right now.
“I’ll think about what comes next after my hand’s raised in the Octagon,” Fitch said.
He will travel to Australia later this week to finish up his camp and get ready for the UFC 127 showdown against B.J. Penn.