Former UFC Welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch will look to make a bold statement this weekend, facing the multi-time UFC Champion BJ “The Prodigy” Penn at the UFC 127 headliner in Sydney, Australia. The fight is expected to determine the identity of number one contender for the UFC Welterweight Crown.
This could be the second time for Jon Fitch being on his way for a title fight, previously getting battered by Georges St. Pierre during five rounds at UFC 87, back in 2008. Since then, Fitch went on a five-fight winning streak rampage, removing the top contenders Akihiro Gono, Paulo Thiago and Thiago Alves out of his way.
There’s no doubt about Jon Fitch‘s statistics being most impressive. Record-wise, Jon Fitch surpasses by far his UFC 127 opponent BJ Penn (16-7). Fitch is 13-1 between 2005 and 2010, while BJ Penn holds the far less impressive record of 7 and 6. Yet, Penn is (rightfully) considered a legend in the sport, while Jon Fitch battles the public opinion to prove he’s a great fighter, not speaking about being a legend.
With 7 consecutive Decision victories, Fitch is a perfect MMA anti-hero, who will always chase the recognition of KO-hungry fans. Still, boring or not, the facts are there, making Fitch one of the most dominant fighters in history of the UFC Welterweight division, alongside Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre.
But does Jon Fitch really need the UFC Welterweight Title to be considered an MMA legend, just like the listed above fighters? It’s a philosophical question, relevant for any type of sports.
Legacy-wise, Jon Fitch will have a hard time leaving his mark by constantly being the 2nd best. Without ever winning the UFC Welterweight title, Fitch will always be on the wrong side of history. We live in a world where the winner takes it all, and without having a shiny golden belt around his waist, impressive statistics will remain Jon Fitch’s only achievement.
The fight against BJ Penn will be a proving ground for the American Kickboxing Academy product. It will be a fight against someone who Fitch so desperately wants to be. Before the fight Jon Fitch said “you’ve got to beat a legend to become a legend”. Well, the path to glory and the “legend status” goes through the fight against “The Prodigy”.