Fighting out of San Jose,California’s famed AKA means you follow one basic principle: WIN. For UFC Welterweight Jon Fitch that wasn’t as attainable as it used to be.
Since August of 2010, Jon Fitch had fought just twice due to two separate knee injuries. His record in that span was 0-1-1. He suffered a first-round KO loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC 141 in December of last year. In February of 2011 he fought BJ Penn to a majority decision draw at UFC 127. After those two fights, many wondered if Fitch’s style would ever lead to another title fight.
His return to the octagon this past Saturday at UFC 153 most likely quieted his doubters. Fitch defeated Brazilian Erick Silva in dominant fashion by using a mixture of wrestling, grappling and overpowering ground and pound.
It was a performance that didn’t make him an automatic title contender, but placed his career back on track to possible title hopes. Before he becomes a UFC top-3 welterweight, he must overtake several top contenders.
Just a few welterweights he must leap over are, minus Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre;
Johny Hendricks (13-1): Hendricks is lined up to fight Martin Kampmann at UFC 154 and with a win there he could find himself in a possible title fight. Hendricks owns the lone KO of Fitch and is widely considered the best welterweight without a title. Whether or not he wins, could mean if there’s a possible rematch with Fitch.
Josh Koscheck (17-6): Fitch’s former AKA teammate is reeling from a close split decision loss to Hendricks in May. He was slated to face Jake Ellenberger at UFC 151, but that match never materialized due to a back injury suffered by Koscheck in August. Koscheck has always been considered a top contender and a fight versus Fitch would be a good measuring stick bout.
Nick Diaz (26-8, 1 ND): If it weren’t for the remaining five months of his suspension, Diaz would more than likely be next in line for a title shot. As of right now, he is still considered to be a top-5 welterweight and will likely garner title talk upon his return to the octagon. A bout versus Fitch in the future might not be out of the question and it would be an interesting fight as both have vastly different styles.
Winner of BJ Penn vs Rory MacDonald: A win by Penn gives fans the long-awaited rematch of a highly controversial draw. If MacDonald wins, it could put Fitch up against another highly touted star in the making.
Fans have seen Fitch fight Hendricks and Penn, but a bout versus Diaz, Koscheck or MacDonald could be interesting. As far as the UFC is concerned, they have a laundry list of possible fights for Jon Fitch and a deep welterweight division full of talent and interesting fights.