Fitch Wants UFC Title Shot

According to Jon Fitch, he has no one to blame but himself for his current exclusion from the UFC’s welterweight title picture, and he wants to do something about it.

FitchActionFigure The former Purdue wrestler, who is ranked No. 2 behind UFC champion Georges St. Pierre in The L.A. Times' November MMA rankings, has won his last five bouts in a row since dropping a shutout unanimous-decision loss to the French Canadian champion at UFC 87 in 2008. Still, Fitch’s name wasn’t mentioned when UFC President Dana White spoke about the promotion’s future plans for the robust 170-pound division in October.

Fitch outscored Brazilian striker Thiago Alves in their rematch at UFC 117 in August, but said he was in the dark about his next assignment until he asked his manager Bob Cook to approach the promotion a few weeks ago.

The 32-year-old Indiana native requested bouts with former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields, a recent UFC acquisition, or St. Pierre – regardless if he bests Fitch’s teammate Josh Koscheck at UFC 124 on Dec. 11 in Montreal.

The UFC came back with Jake Ellenberger, a capable 24-year-old wrestler who has stopped his last two opponents in the Octagon, but isn’t currently ranked in the division. Fitch will meet Ellenberger at UFC 126 in February, while Shields – despite a sluggish split-decision victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC 121 last month – has been earmarked to face the winner of St. Pierre-Koscheck next.

“I’m not going to cry about it,” said Fitch. “If I’ve failed to convince the UFC, Dana White, and the fans that I’m overwhelmingly the No. 1 contender and that I absolutely should be fighting for the belt, then I take that as my own responsibility. It’s my own fault. If people are dissatisfied, then I’m going to correct that.”

Has Fitch been seemingly put on ice by the promotion because of his unwillingness to fight American Kickboxing Academy stablemate Koscheck? Both Fitch and Koscheck have publicly stated that they will not face off under any circumstances, which has become a bone of contention with White. (The UFC did not respond to an e-mail for comment on this story.)

“We’re professional athletes. We’re the ones that make that decision to put ourselves at risk and in the position of bodily harm. We should have the right to choose who we get to do that harm to,” said Fitch. “Motivation is a huge thing in fighting. If you’re not motivated to fight somebody, it’s going to be a bad fight.”

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