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UPDATED - UFC 117: The Ballad of Jon Fitch


What if I told you having a career record of 23-3(1) while going 20-1 in your last 21 fights with your only loss coming to the present champ and currently riding a four fight winning streak wouldn't be enough for a promoter to give a you another shot at the title. Yet, when it comes to UFC Welterweight Jon Fitch, who has accomplished all these aforementioned things, there is a very good chance that he won't get a second title shot if he beats Thiago Alves this Saturday night at UFC 117.

Part of the reason why Fitch might not get another shot at the title if he beats Alves this weekend is his own doing. In the past, Fitch has been very vocal about not fighting a fellow AKA teammate. One of those teammates he speaks of happens to be Welterweight number one contender, Josh Koscheck, who is fighting for the title at the end of the year. Leading up to UFC 117, Fitch has said he plans on moving up to the Middleweight division if Koscheck becomes the 170 pound champ:

"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"

However, having one of his teammates capture the 170 pound UFC title isn't Fitch's only problem. It's no secret that Fitch and UFC President Dana White haven't always seen eye to eye. There was the UFC Undisputed video game debacle that got Fitch cut from the UFC for about 24 hours and also the ongoing conflict between White and Fitch (along with other AKA members) for their refusal to fight each other which lead to Dana openly criticizing Fitch at the UFC 111 post fight press conference. Needless to say, pissing off the boss is not a good way to get what you want especially if that person can make the final call on whether you get a title shot or not.

These discrepancies with White have caused Fitch to basically clean out the Welterweight division in an attempt to get another shot at the title, but that still may not be good enough. As of right now, newly signed, former Strikeforce Middleweight champ Jake Shields, who is dropping back down to the Welterweight division, is scheduled to make his UFC debut at UFC 121 in October against Martin Kampmann. Chances are, if Shields wins, he is probably going to get the first crack at St-Pierre if he beats Koscheck in December. This means if Fitch wins his fifth fight in a row at UFC 117, he still may not get a second shot at UFC gold and will probably have to win one or two more fights to get a shot at the belt. To put it simply, Fitch is stuck in limbo as always the third person in line to fight George St-Pierre.

If Fitch is victorious this weekend and isn't granted a title shot, there is little he can do. Fitch signed a new five fight contract with the UFC early in 2009 and will still have more fights left on his contract after UFC 117 so he can't even entertain the idea of taking his talents elsewhere (like South Beach). Obviously, openly campaign for a title shot isn't going to do Fitch any good either. He really has no other options than to keep fighting and keep winning so Dana has no other alternative but to give him what he wants, a title shot. This is the ballad of Jon Fitch.

Update: It looks like Jon Fitch is going to get his wish if he beats Thiago Alves Saturday night. According to Steve Cofield of Yahoo! Sports, Dana White announced that the winner of Saturday night's fight between Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves at UFC 117 will be given a title shot against the winner of Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck.

I guess this means Fitch might be secretly rooting for GSP against his AKA teammate, Josh Koscheck.

P.S. Thank you gzl5000 for the heads up

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