The recent talk about the welterweight title has revolved around a few names like champion Georges St-Pierre, his next opponent Josh Koscheck, and new potential No. 1 contender Jake Shields. Lost in the mix somewhere has been the fighter who holds a 13-1 record in the UFC, still waiting on another shot at the 170-pound belt.
Jon Fitch is in Anaheim at UFC 121 to support teammate Cain Velasquez, who looks to take home the UFC heavyweight title, but he’ll have his eyes on the welterweight bout between Jake Shields and Martin Kampmann as well.
Shields comes to the UFC with a five-year unbeaten streak that includes his recent dominant win over former middleweight title contender Dan Henderson. If Shields gets past Kampmann, it’s likely he’ll get the next shot at the UFC welterweight title instead of Fitch.
Taking a step back, Fitch isn’t looking at the title picture with any kind of anger or envy, he’s just going to let the chips fall where they may.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that what Dana says isn’t always what’s going to happen. So you just kind of have to wait and see really, because you never know how the fight’s going to go,” Fitch said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.
“A lot of things can happen and you never know what’s going on, so all you can really do is just focus on yourself.”
If Shields is victorious and gets the title shot, Fitch says he’ll have no anger or animosity towards the Cesar Gracie black belt. What Fitch is concerned about is what he can control, and doesn’t hold ill will towards anyone else’s opportunities.
“The thing is, in life you can’t focus on the uncontrollable,” said Fitch. “You can focus your attention on the things you can control, otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy. If you can’t control it there’s no reason to worry about it. I’m just not going to worry about that. I’m just going to worry about becoming the best possible fighter I can be, get out there and meet as many fans as I can, be the best representative of a UFC fighter as I can, and everything’s going to take care of itself in the end.
“You can’t cry about somebody else working hard and getting something they want and getting there. You have to worry about yourself and what you’re doing.”
While Shields has been pegged as a potential No. 1 contender, much like when Fitch fought Thiago Alves back in August, a win doesn’t always equal a title shot. Performance plays a big part in the final decision making by the UFC.
“You also have to take into consideration it’s going to depend on how those fights end. I wouldn’t put it past Dana at all if he thinks that the Kampmann/Shields fight is slow paced and boring, there’s no way he’s going to let those guys have a title shot right away,” Fitch explained. “I think that’s what hindered me is not being able to finish Thiago. It put me at ‘maybe you’re going to get the title shot’ from me getting it.”
If a title fight is not in his immediate future, Fitch admits that he wants to get back to the business of fighting as soon as possible. Sitting on the sidelines without a goal in mind drives Fitch to the breaking point, and he’d much rather have someone in mind to break instead.
One name in particular that is intriguing to Fitch is former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit, who is fresh off of his knockout win over Dan Hardy at UFC 120.
“With the heat that Carlos created from that fight, that’s a fight I would take,” said Fitch. “If he wouldn’t have won the way he won, maybe not, because I feel like where I’m at I’m right at the jumping point to fight for the belt. I want to fight other guys at that jumping point. I think with the win that he had knocking Hardy out, knocking him out the way he did, I think he’s right to the level where he’s nipping at that belt too.”
The key for Fitch in all of this is simply ‘wait and see’ because anything can happen, and with the way fights go in the UFC, it almost always does.
“It’s all up in the air with no reason to stress about it right now,” Fitch stated. “Just have to wait until all the pieces fall into place.”