Jon Fitch No Longer Distracted by What He Can’t Control

January 31, 2013
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Jon Fitch at UFC 117Before his last trip to the Octagon, former welterweight title contender Jon Fitch said that his priorities about fighting had changed over the last year of his life.

Forced to deal with a painful set of injuries and an even bigger, ever mounting pile of bills, Fitch fought Johny Hendricks when he probably shouldn’t have, and despite the loss, he still says he has no regrets because the paycheck fed his family and that’s all that really mattered.

When he returned late last year, a new Jon Fitch emerged.

For years, Fitch answered questions about earning another title shot, and why he could put together a huge winning streak and still not land on the contender’s radar at 170 pounds. Following the loss to Hendricks, however, Fitch just got to be a fighter again and faced Brazilian Erick Silva in what turned out to be the “Fight of the Night” at UFC 153.

It was like a breath of fresh air for Fitch, and as he heads into his next bout at UFC 156 against grappling wizard Demian Maia, he once again has his sights set on what’s really important in his life – providing for his wife and child and putting a roof over their heads.

“My perspective and my goals are kind of the same from the last fight,” Fitch told MMAWeekly Radio. “I need to provide for my family. I need to take care of them. I think I’ve become more focused, and focusing on a single opponent, and the single fight in front of me, instead of worrying too much about what’s going on outside of that fight.”

Fitch has no problem admitting that in the past there were a lot of distractions as he got ready to fight that had nothing to do with the opponent in front of him. Whether it was title shot talk or top ten discussions or feeling like he was being snubbed by the UFC, Fitch says there were just too many other things clouding his mind like a haze.

Now the fog has lifted and he’s single-minded of purpose.

“Especially for those couple of years, I think I was distracted by what was going on outside of my fight, instead of focusing on that one single fight,” said Fitch.

Now Fitch is just about going out, putting on the best fight possible, and he’ll let the chips fall where they may. The harsh reality of the MMA business world have taught Fitch an awful lot, and now he knows what he needs to do to be successful as a husband, father and fighter.

“I kind of caught my second breath, and I’ve learned a lot over the years and I know what I need to do, and what needed to be done to win these fights. What needed to be done to win these fights in the manner that I know I can,” said Fitch.

The new attitude earned Fitch a bonus in his last fight as he just went out and enjoyed fighting again. He will look to do the same thing when he faces Demian Maia at UFC 156 this weekend.

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  • BarrysHypocrisy

    I think more fighters need to start thinking this way and stop worrying about the “what ifs”. They worry about a possible title shot, their spot in the rankings, what the fans think about them, etc. and it distracts them from their opponent at hand.

    Bisping is a perfect example of this. All he does is complain about how he deserves a title shot and what’s going to happen when he beats his opponent and why is that guy getting a title shot instead of him and then he loses and it’s back to the bottom of the ladder. Where did all of those other distractions get him?

    • Sir_Roy

      Can’t help but agree. I think we’re starting to see a need for sports psychology coaches more and more in MMA. But much like the ‘real world’, there are not many truly good ones.

      You have to have your head on right first and foremost. If you don’t, everything else that you do will be tainted leading to a dark, downward spiral right quick. All too often, we’re the last to know when our mind is not rightly focused. There is too much in the game of MMA to distract and detract from what a fighter has to do, they need all the help they can get to keep just perspective.

      I do wonder though, how much of Bisping’s public commentary is part of his promotional diatribe, and how much of it actually reflects his mindset.

      • El Gvapo

        I’d say it’s 90% promotional. I think the UFC has shown over the past couple of years that selling PPVs is more important than fighter merit. Sonnen and Diaz getting title fights have shown that. I think Bisping was trying to be clever and create this villain persona so that most fans would hate him. If the fans want to see you win or get KO’ed, they still want to watch.

        On the other hand, I think a fighter has to believe he’s the best if he wants to get to the top. However I don’t think bisping believed in himself 100% hence why he was so vocal. It’s like the school bully syndrome, act like a tough guy and try and make sure everyone knows it, but deep down it just masks your own insecurities and self-doubt.

        Or he’s just a pr*ck. Some people are.

  • dan

    I dont like his style of fighting but I really do feel bad for Fitch. You cant learn much from a quick KO like what happened in the Hendricks fight but Fitch beats 95% of the roster. His only hope right now is that GSP loses soon because I feel, to this day, that Fitch is the same fighter as GSP but without the speed and thats what killed him in the 1st fight. GSP was simply too fast for Fitch and still is. If I were Fitch, I’d be rooting for every guy that GSP fights.

    • guest

      Nothing like st pierre – Doesn’t have his stand up – certainly doesn’t have his double leg and doesn’t transition from stand up to ground game with such fluidity

  • kbroesq

    I have to say that before Fitch’s fight with Silva, I hated Fitch. He was the epitome of lay-and-pray fighters who fought to win and not to finish. After watching his fight with Silva, I am a huge fan. For all you wrestlers who say, ‘well, wrestling is my strength, and I’m not going to move away from that,’ watch Fitch’s fight with Silva. You CAN use wrestling AND be entertaining. He didn’t finish Silva, but I feel like he tried to finish Silva.

    I feel that Fitch fought such a good fight because his back was against the wall. I hope he doesn’t get complacent again. This fight with Maia is an awesome match and I cannot wait to see it. After Fitch’s last fight, I feel like he could beat anyone.

    • kooolout

      jon fitch landed 2149 strikes in the UFC he is 2nd only to Georges St Pierre. Not to be rude but that is not lay and pray. His last fight was one hell of a fight for sure.

      • shakejunt

        and georges gets crap for being boring too so what’s your point? fitch and guida and askren are all very good at what they do, but it’s usually up to their opponents to make the fight entertaining.

      • King_DG

        yes that is true, but those strikes are not meant to finish, they’re meant to score points. ironically both of them have not finished a fight in a while

    • Darin

      Agreed. Fitch used to be my least favorite big name fighter, but after his domination of Silva I’ve turned into a fan. NOBODY escapes tight chokes like Fitch.

  • brian stevens

    I used to love Jon Fitch. I met him at UFC 82 and his following fight with GSP was one of his best. Fitch and GSP are nothing alike because Fitch isn’t an athlete like GSP. GSP is boring to me because he fights safe. GSP has the ability to finish and push a fight, but Fitch doesn’t. Fitch is a hard worker with very little punching power. I don’t blame Fitch for the way he fights. GSP is a totally different situation. My biggest problem with Fitch is his attitude which is awful. His attitude towards BJ and Diego were huge turn offs to me. His spat with Dana was embarrassing and his reluctance to improve and change has soured me.

  • $26909079

    I love Fitch and I hope he demolishes his next 10 opponents