Jon Fitch has long been entrenched near the top of the rankings as one of the best welterweight fighters in the world… and for good reason; he wins, a lot.
In fact, the American Kickboxing Academy product has lost only one bout, to UFC welterweight king Georges St-Pierre, since 2002. Following the loss to St-Pierre at UFC 87 in 2008, Fitch won five consecutive bouts then drew with BJ Penn earlier this year at UFC 127.
When other contender, like Rick Story, started calling his name for a fight, Fitch responded by telling MMAWeekly.com, “I’m at a point in my career where I need to be fighting main events and main event fighters. And if you don’t have a belt, currently, or you haven’t owned a belt in the UFC, I’m not really interested.”
Fitch may not be interested, but he may not have a choice. Despite running up a record of 13-1-1 in the Octagon, one of the most accomplished records in UFC history, Fitch’s name hasn’t often been linked recently to a second title shot. The first was his failed attempt to wrest the belt from GSP.
And while the fighters on the UFC roster are all contracted, not 9-to-5 employees, most usually end up fighting who the promotion wants them to fight, who the promotion deems sensible. UFC president Dana White says Fitch is no exception.
“What guys want to do and what happens are two different things,” White told MMAWeekly.com on Saturday night. “If we can give him all champions and ex-champions, we’ll see. He’s gonna have to fight who we say he’s going to fight.”
Fitch has butted heads before with UFC brass, particularly over the rights to a fighter’s likeness in such uses as the UFC’s Undisputed video game franchise, and in regards to teammates fighting teammates. The arguments about ever fighting his buddy Josh Koscheck have yet to reach a tipping point, but Fitch did acquiesce in regards to video game issue.
Despite the draw with Penn, no rematch is on the horizon – Penn is slated to face Carlos Condit at UFC 137 in October – and Fitch doesn’t currently have a bout scheduled. So it remains to be seen just when and where Fitch will return following a few months off due to shoulder surgery.
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