Top welterweight contenders Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch battled it out for three rounds last Saturday night at UFC 117 in what was thought to be a title eliminator bout. Jon Fitch defeated a deflated looking Alves via his usual three round grind and it looked like Fitch would be up next for UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre (assuming St. Pierre defeats his next challenger, Fitch’s teammate Josh Koscheck). However, directly after the fight at the evening’s post-fight press conference UFC President Dana White was non-committal when discussing whether or not Fitch was next in line for a title shot, saying that it all comes down to timing.
“What happens is timing is everything,” said White. “We’ve got to figure out – Koscheck and ‘GSP’ are going to fight after their season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ He’s a winner tonight. Shields is going to fight Kampmann. We’ll see how this whole thing plays out.”
After losing a five round unanimous decision to St. Pierre at UFC 87 in August of 2008, Fitch has rattled off wins over five tough welterweights in a row and seems to be a shoo-in for title contention. Part of the reason White is waffling over Fitch’s contender status is due to the fact that each of those wins have been by plodding unanimous decision.
“He’s not the exciting fighter you hope for, but the guy’s so dominant, so what are you going to do?” White mused. “You’ve got to give him his respect. He’s one of the best guys in the world. But tonight, out of the entire card, my Twitter [followers were] not too excited about Jon.”
Fitch trains out of the well-respected American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California and is teammate to current top contender Josh Koscheck. Koscheck is going to take on St. Pierre sometime this year and should he defeat the dominant French-Canadian he could be facing the prospect of making his first title defense against Fitch. Though both men have said before that they are unwilling to fight each other, even for the title, White believes that Fitch and Koscheck are softening their stance and could be persuaded to fight.
“What you’re not hearing is ‘no,'” White said. “He’s not saying, ‘No, I will not fight Josh Koscheck.’ I said it before, and I’ll say it again. From what I understand of Jon Fitch and what I know of Josh Koscheck, I believe that both of these guys have the desire, the heart and the spirit to take this fight. There’s been guys that have been like, ‘No way. There’s no way I’ll fight him.’ These guys aren’t saying that. They’re not saying, ‘No.'”