Fitch Stays in the Mix

By Jake Rossen Nov 2, 2010

Jon Fitch file photo: D. Mandel |

Percentagewise, Jon Fitch has had one of the most storied and accomplished careers in the UFC. A record of 13-1 is an incredible achievement. If 12-0 Anderson Silva’s next two fights involve Vitor Belfort and Georges St. Pierre, it’s entirely possible he won’t be able to match it.

All of this should make Fitch a perennial contender, and he is, but it’s not without some hesitation on the promotion’s part. After a dull decision win over Thiago Alves in August, the UFC withdrew the “guaranteed” title shot the winner of the fight was supposed to receive. Instead, Fitch is fighting Jake Ellenberger on Feb. 5 at UFC 126; St. Pierre will fight Josh Koscheck in December, Jake Shields next year, and possibly Silva later on. Even if Fitch beats Ellenberger, he won’t get a sniff of that belt until 2012.

The part of me largely uninterested in Fitch’s Sarlaac Pit of a style -- he slowly envelops opponents, pinning them down in endurance fights -- has no problem with it; the part of me that believes results should be valued over everything else does.

Fitch probably should have fought Shields in October -- instead, Shields fought Kampmann in his debut -- to determine a clear top contender. Instead, he’s more or less treading water with Ellenberger, a fine fighter who is nonetheless not in the top-five mix. Fitch someday getting the belt is almost a foregone conclusion, but I wonder if his patience won’t give out before his body does.
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