Jon Fitch Looks To Get His Name Back Out There
This article was originally posted on MMAMadness.com
Ever since losing to Georges St. Pierre back at UFC 87, top ranked welterweight contender Jon Fitch seemed to fade from prominence.
Fitch was victorious in his comeback fight at UFC 94, defeating seasoned veteran Akhiro Gono by way of unanimous decision, but the fight was on the preliminary portion of the card, where most fans were unable to see it.
"You're only as good as your last fight and when people haven't seen you recently, you disappear,” Fitch said. “People don't remember who you are. [Since] nobody has really seen me fight since the St. Pierre fight, a lot of people have forgotten about me."
Fitch will look to make fans remember him when he returns to the main card at UFC 100 to take on undefeated UFC newcomer Paulo Thiago.
"It's awesome; everyone is going to be watching this card,” Fitch said. “Even if you don't care for anything about the UFC, you're probably going to watch UFC 100. It's a big deal."
Thiago made his debut at UFC 95 against one of Fitch's teammates, Josh Koscheck. Koscheck controlled the fight early, but was dropped three minutes into the first round and finished by the UFC newcomer in a stunning upset.
"It's kind of Koscheck not putting it on him like he should have” Fitch said. “He was playing around and treating it more like a sparring match coming after a guy making his UFC debut. Koscheck was winning, he was dominating the stand up. He was just a little too relaxed, got lazy on a double jab and Paulo just timed him."
Despite Thiago being a Jiu-Jitsu specialist, Fitch is not concerned about the fight going to the ground.
"I feel like my Jiu-Jitsu is strong enough to hang with anyone,” Fitch said. “I'm extremely hard to finish, I've got good sweeps, I can get out from underneath the bottom, I've got great control. I feel real comfortable anywhere in the fight."
The welterweight division is one of the most stacked weight classes in the UFC, yet it is uncertain who will challenge for the title after Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves fight for the belt at UFC 100.
A dominant victory over Thiago could put Fitch right back in line for another title shot. At least, that is what Fitch hopes.
"I'm hoping it will open people's eyes again and remind people of who I am and where I come from,” Fitch said. “I think I have faded in the public's eyes because I wasn't on the main card for my last fight and I was unable to finish Gono. I'm hoping to come back strong with this fight and really put it on the new guy."
Fitch believes he has improved tremendously since the first fight with St. Pierre. He also discussed what he believed was his biggest flaw in the fight.
"My defense needed to be way tighter and that stupid leg kick, that lazy leg kick,” Fitch said. “I have the tendency of throwing these stupid lazy leg kicks and it's something we have corrected in the past few months, but that's the biggest thing. I throw that lazy leg kick in the first round and I get dropped with a big right hand and from that point on it's just an uphill battle."
In combat sports a loss can become the best thing for a fighter's career. It shows them that they aren't invincible and that they do have weaknesses. Fitch believes losing to St. Pierre has done just that.
"I needed that I needed St. Pierre to expose what my holes were,” Fitch said. “I didn't know how big of a problem it was until that moment."
When he isn't training, Fitch is an avid video game player. Fitch recently picked up a copy of UFC 2009 Undisputed and shared his thoughts on the game.
"They got a lot of my mannerisms down, they've got my messed up ears and everything right. They did a good job with it," Fitch said.
In addition to being a video game character, Fitch will be the focus of an upcoming documentary entitled, Such Great Heights, which follows the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native during his training and preparation leading up to his title fight against St. Pierre.
"It turned out phenomenal, way better than I had ever expected,” Fitch said. “With this story, it's very positive towards MMA. It's directed towards people who have never seen MMA.”
“The groups of people who they have shown this to in New York are the type of people who are like the artsy-fartsy types who have never heard of MMA or have never watched a fight in their life and more or less never would,” Fitch said. “After showing this movie to them, they were immediately buying the next pay-per-view for the UFC."
The release date of the film is uncertain at this time, but Fitch and his managers are hoping that it will be picked up by a major network.
"They want it to go to a film release and they're going to do an independent film festival with it,” Fitch said.
“We still have to get the licensing and the film stuff signed over by the UFC,” Fitch said. “We're still waiting on that and for them to give their approval for it, but after they see it I'm sure they are going to be fine with everything that's in there. I think around September in the fall it should be available, we're hoping for it to get picked up by HBO, Showtime or something like that where it's going to be seen some more."
To reach Mitch Ciccarelli with comments or questions, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.