Perennial UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch recently received the welcomed news that his next opponent had been changed from Jake Ellenberger to BJ “The Prodigy” Penn. Penn has roots in Fitch’s current home at American Kickboxing Academy and remains good friends with AKA grappling coach Dave Camarillo. Fitch appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani recently and discussed the match up, touching on what it means for him to take on Penn.
“Coming out of AKA, B.J. has kind have been the older brother or the older cousin that you never really knew, but everybody always talks about,” Fitch said, adding that, “It’s kind of like I’ve been chasing that reputation my whole career. It’s a huge thing for me to fight B.J. Penn.”
Though Fitch admits to being completely surprised by the bout being proposed and coming together, he told Helwani that the bout makes perfect sense.
“No brainer,” Fitch said. “I was just kind of surprised and shocked that it came to fruition like this. I didn’t know if they were thinking of this or it was just a spur of the moment thing. But yeah, I was all for it. I was just surprised.”
Fitch was recently leapfrogged for a title shot by former Elite XC and Strikeforce champ Jake Shields and there has been much speculation as to where he fits in the title picture, especially considering his teammate could very well be holding the strap after this weekend. Fitch explained that he isn’t currently worried about his station in the 170lbs. division, that he is focused on his upcoming bout with Penn instead.
“I’m just going to worry about fighting BJ Penn and put on a great show for the fans in Australia,” Fitch said. “And if I fail to convince the world that I’m undoubtedly the No. 1 guy to fight for the belt, then it’s my fault and I’m going to take it upon myself to change that.”
What do you think of the match up between Fitch and Penn? How do you expect it to play out? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.