One of the top contenders in one of the deepest weight classes in the UFC, welterweight Jon Fitch is only days away from squaring off against previous opponent and fellow top contender Thiago Alves. It is widely acknowledged that Fitch and Alves (who have both fought for the title against current champion Georges St. Pierre) are two of the top dogs at 170 pounds but with the recent acquisition of Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields to the UFC’s welterweight ranks and the established presence of fighters like Martin Kampmann, Dan Hardy and Paulo Thiago, not to mention rising stars like John Hathaway, Fitch and Alves’ bout is hardly a lock to establish the number one welterweight contender. Fitch recently told MMAWeekly Radio that he feels he is close to another title shot, but that he would not be surprised if he had to wait in line a little longer.
“I would think so, but I don’t make the decisions,” Fitch said of earning a title shot after this weekend’s bout against Alves. “You never know what the suits are thinking, and what they want to do. I said it jokingly a while ago; I’m going to have win eight more fights to get another title shot. It’s looking like that might be the case.”
Fitch trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy with notable fighters such as Cain Velasquez, Mike Swick and Josh Koscheck. The latter of which will be the next man to take on St. Pierre for his title and, having a strict policy against fighting one another at AKA, Fitch said that the outcome of the Koscheck-St. Pierre title fight will also help to determine when he will next step into the ring for a five rounder.
“If Josh is able to defeat Georges St-Pierre, I believe they’re probably going to give him an automatic rematch,” Fitch said. “Just because of who Georges is currently, and the champion that he’s been. It would be hard to argue him not getting an automatic rematch after that fight.”
So adamantly against fighting one another are the AKA fighters that Fitch stated, should Koscheck defeat St. Pierre and hold on to his belt, that he will vacate the welterweight division for the middleweight division in order not to face his friend and training partner.
“If that’s going to take a lot of time, and by that time I’ve probably fought all the other top welterweights there are, on top of that Koscheck beating (St-Pierre) twice, and retaining the title, I’m going to move up to 185,” Fitch said.
Fitch summed up the loyalty between AKA fighters this way: “We have a philosophy at our gym, it’s better to have three world champions at AKA than two as two guys fight it out for one belt.”
Jon Fitch will step into the Octagon this Saturday night at UFC 117 to take on Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves in a welterweight contest. Alves and Fitch fought once before, at UFC: Ultimate Fight Night 5 in June of 2006. Fitch won that battle via TKO. Headlining UFC 117 will be UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva who will be defending his title against polarizing contender Chael Sonnen.