Thirteen wins in the UFC. One winning streak of eight bouts, another of five in a row, and his only loss in the promotion is to reigning UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre more than three years ago.
Prior to his 2010 fight against Thiago Alves at UFC 117, it was declared that the winner would get the next crack at the title, but still, as 2011 closes, Fitch has not been offered or even been on the short list of potential opponents for that elusive gold belt.
Some say it’s Fitch’s fighting style that keeps him away from another shot at the belt. A wrestler by nature, Fitch has ground many opponents into the mat and wore them down to a nub, but unanimous decisions don’t electrify the way that finishes do.
While his teammate Josh Koscheck got a shot at St-Pierre last year, and former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields took a crack at the champion in 2011, Fitch continued to work away. He’ll do the same again at UFC 141 when he faces Johny Hendricks.
One thing that Fitch won’t do however is change his style to try and appease anybody. Winning is the first and foremost thing on his mind, and as time goes on, he is committed to nothing else and he believes his fans appreciate that.
“No, and as time goes on, it gets less and less, even,” Fitch told MMAWeekly Radio when asked if there was pressure on him to change his fighting style.
“The further I go and the better I do, I get more and more fans. I feel kind of like Ron Paul. The more people who see me fight and appreciate my fighting and understand MMA and understand fighting, what a real fight is, it’s not pro wrestling, I get more and more support. I have more fans supporting me now than I ever have.”
Much like his favorite presidential candidate, Ron Paul, Jon Fitch would like to get elected one day too, but his goal is another shot at the UFC welterweight title, not politics. What Fitch won’t do to get it, however, is to beg, plead, or ask fans to bombard Dana White via Twitter.
If Fitch gets another shot at the welterweight belt, he’s going to get it because he’s earned it and for no other reason.
“I like things to happen organically. I don’t want to be begging for people’s support. I don’t want to be like, ‘oh please say this for me.’ I love it when people step up and say it because that’s what they feel, cause to me that’s real and that’s genuine,” said Fitch.
“I don’t like anything fake. I don’t want to be gifted anything, I don’t want to be handed anything, just because. I like earning things.”
The former Purdue wrestler admits he doesn’t even like receiving Christmas presents because he’d rather go out and earn the money to buy things for himself. Call it a strange way of thinking, but Fitch would tell you he’s just willing to work for whatever he gets.
That’s what he’ll do once again at UFC 141 when he faces former NCAA champion Johny Hendricks.
If you look at any top ten ranking system, Hendricks isn’t listed, but Fitch definitely is. If you look at the list of contenders in line for a shot at the title, Hendricks generally isn’t mentioned, but Fitch is always right there.
The point is, Hendricks may not have the accomplishments, rankings, or prestige attached to his name that Jon Fitch does, but the Indiana native knows he’s just as tough as anyone out there. See, Jon Fitch doesn’t take fights against lesser opponents.
He only wants to fight guys that actually have a real, legit shot at beating him.
“I don’t fight anybody who’s weak sauce,” Fitch stated. “The guys I fight are always very tough, and after my fights they always carry on and have very full careers and do very well.”
He expects nothing less out of Hendricks and, if he wins, he’ll gladly accept a title shot if that’s what the powers-that-be decide to offer him. He’ll even be ready in case either Nick Diaz or Carlos Condit aren’t available for their bout at UFC 143 on Feb 4.
“I’ll probably make sure that I’m ready to go when those guys are fighting in February too because you never know,” said Fitch. “Somebody might get hurt or somebody might miss a press conference. You never know.”
No matter what happens, Jon Fitch is going to earn his way and wants to be handed nothing.
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