by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Jon Fitch on Thursday, via his official website, confirmed that he has signed for his next fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Although he stated, “I have signed my bout agreement to fight Akihiro Gono at UFC 82 on March 1 in Columbus, Ohio,” it has not yet been confirmed that Gono has signed his bout agreement.

The bout has long been rumored, but it is believed that Gono initial turned down the bout, but then just this week reconsidered and verbally accepted.

Currently ranked as the No. 4 welterweight fighter in the world by MMAWeekly.com and riding a 14-fight winning streak, Fitch has fallen victim to an overly crowded division that has thus far left him on the sidelines waiting for a title shot. With a 15-2 professional record and wins over the likes of Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves, Kuniyoshi Hironaka, Josh Burkman, Brock Larson, and others, Fitch has to be considered one of the strongest contenders in 170-pound weight class.

Starting his career in 1994, Gono is a seasoned veteran that has made his mark as more of a journeyman fighter than a contender. He has defeated fighters like Yuki Kondo, Ivan Salaverry, and in his UFC debut, Tamden McCrory, but he hasn’t been able to get over the hump when it comes to making his mark against the premier fighters in the world.

Fitch will be a difficult task for Gono, but the Japanese fighter’s heart and determination also makes him a tough opponent as well.

If Gono signs his bout agreement, the two will fight as part of the event headlined by a middleweight title bout between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson.