The stable of fighters that trains at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California is as impressive as that of any top-level gym in the world. With the likes of Cain Velasquez, Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Jon Fitch, Josh Thomson, and more dotting their roster, AKA is under no threat of having questionable legitimacy. However, with three of their best fighters all competing in the UFC’s welterweight division and with each having issued a strict refusal to fight another, avoiding a top-contender log jam is a problem that UFC Dana White insists will be solved by having the AKA fighters duke it out.
With Mike Swick having recently lost to both Dan Hardy and Paulo Thiago, the fighter formerly known as “The Kid Lion” is further away from the title picture than Fitch and certainly further than Koscheck, who will be serving as opposing coach and eventual opponent to UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre but the problem still exists between Fitch and Koscheck. Assuming that both men get past their next opponents, Thiago Alves and St. Pierre respectively, they will be on a direct collision course; a problem that Fitch told Sportsnet.ca he will solve by vacating the welterweight division to try his luck as a middleweight.
“To me there’s no reason to fight a teammate,” said Fitch. “It’s just not a fight [that we are] interested in at all. It’s a situation where, if Koscheck is able to win the belt and defend the belt, I will move up to 185.”
Fitch, one of the largest welterweights, says that putting on the necessary weight to compete at 185lbs would be no problem.
“I think I have a good size frame,” Fitch said. “I can put on 15 pounds. I may have to take a month off or so to put on some weight. The other thing is, that process may take over a year from now. I’ll have fought every welterweight worth fighting by that time so it would almost be time to move up anyway!”
Koscheck and Fitch have both faced St. Pierre before and have both taken home unanimous decision losses to the French-Canadian phenom but, despite getting beaten at his own game in their last fight, Fitch likes his teammate’s chances in the rematch and thinks that the fight will look much different this time around.
“I don’t know if it will be as much of a wrestling match this time, there might be a lot more striking involved,” he said. “Koscheck’s striking is much improved since the first time they fought and Georges has developed himself too… its an interesting fight, I think Koscheck is going to win it but it’s a tough fight.”
Fitch will compete in a rematch against fellow top welterweight Thiago Alves this August at UFC 117: Silva Vs. Sonnen and Koscheck will face off against St. Pierre sometime after the airing of the next season of TUF.
You can watch the full interview with Jon Fitch below: