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Does Jon Fitch really need the UFC Welterweight Title to be considered an MMA legend?


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”.

  • He is a legend, but unfortunantly most people will 4get him with time, this guy would be champ if GSP went middleweight 2 fight Silva… wouldnt it be cool 2 see Fitch vs Shields?? xD

  • i think bj will be a seriously tough test for fitch, because obviously bj is one of most well rounded, creative fighters ever, as well as having one of the most formidable guards in the game (was gsp the only one to pass it?) but i do think fitch can beat him….i also think that if fitch beats bj and gsp beats shields (subsequently going to MW) then fitch will get the belt, and probably dominate the division gsp style….the sad thing for fitch up until now is that gsp was like super-fitch so he couldnt ever get the belt

  • Even if he does win i dont think most people will consider him a legend…i think people will forget about him in time to just because his fights arent what majority of the fans wanna see!

  • short answer YES, long answer HELL YES.

  • His record in the UFC is very impressive but no, he’ll never be remembered as a legend due to the methods he used to win all those fights. The way to win the hearts of the fans is to go out there and leave it all in the ring/cage, trying to finish your opponent at any given moment, even if that sometimes means you end up losing a fight here and there. That’s why fans love fighters like Wand, Liddell and Fedor.

  • I completely agree with you. I don’t consider Fitch a legend right now, and probably won’t consider him a legend after he retires either.

    Go Penn

  • Yes, he does.

  • there is 2 things you need to be a legend…
    either you win the belt and dominate your division ( gsp, silva, penn, fedor etc.)

    Or either you get in instant classic match or rivalry.
    unfortunatly for fitch, he is in neither. He havent been able to dominate the division and deserve a rematch against gsp, and he wasnt in any epic battle… the reason is simple : his fight are boring… win or loose, if your fight are boring, nobody would consider them epic.

    Fitch plays the game well and use good technique to win matchs. But even if i respect the style and the technique that have proven to be really effectives for him, i just cant recall any jon fitch highlight apart from standing up each time gsp destroyed him.

    so thats why in my opinion, he would never have the respect and the fame of a couture, ortiz, lidell, franklin, nogueira etc.
    if you dont have the belt, at least give a show…

  • any Legend in any sport has a highlight reel. your record doesnt make you a legend its the way you fight, the impact you have, the memorable moments you left. Liddell is 21-8, Couture is 19-10 and they’re legends with not so spectacular records.

  • In my eyes Fitch will be a legend for his ability to crush the hopes of his opponents getting their game on and for the frustration he brings to the octagon. I realize most would rather forget him but I like him and his style. I feel he is and will be GSP’s toughest test if they meet again.

  • He will be remembered the best grinder p4p.I like his fights though

  • actually it was the other way around gsp was first person to ever pass fitch’s gaurd

  • hes one of my favorite fighters so ill say a bias YES 🙂

  • anyone and i mean anyone who gets in there and bangs or rolls around with someone else trying to punch your mother out of you is a legend in my opinion

  • Fitch isn’t a legend and never will be. People now know him as a boring LnP staller and people in a few years won’t remember him at all. People remember fighters, not guys running out a clock.

  • Right on!

  • lol, no kidding. Who gets up in the morning and says “I am excited for that Fitch fight tonight!” No one.

  • at WW.

  • fitch vs shields would be a snooze-fest!

    As crazy as it sounds the question is a toughie, fitch would have definately legendary status hes unmovable at 170 apart from gsp but hes on another level. but if he beats penn that old saying comes in “to become a legend you must beat a legend” . but if for some reason he doesnt capture the gold and thiago alves does, where would that put fitch after clearly beating him twice??

    so in my eyes hes a legend look at the oppenents hes beaten we as fans of mma have seen his achievments and it dosent go unnoticed unlike by the eyes of the ufc!!

  • doesnt really matter. hes cleaned out the division except for the #1 p4p guy. I personally consider jon fitch a top 10 P4P fighter.

  • The reason people give more recognition to BJ is because he takes risk to make the fight exciting when he could make it boring as well by just taking it to the floor and using his bjj.

  • I agree, Fitch has beaten every man sent against him in the UFC except for GSP, and this is in one of the historically talent stacked divisions in the UFC.

  • he past bjs too doh didnt he? ha, it mighti apply to both guys, fighters think their unstoppable til they face gsp, then he pwns them…

  • …what about gsp? he doesnt fit your criteria but hell be considered a legend, unless the whole world goes insane…

  • By far not a legend in my book. Go for it,weak me,it makes my day.

  • so true, yea hes a great fighter but this sport comes down to one thing… entertainment, and jon fitch is one of the most boring and frustrating fighters to watch, and once hes gone thats the only thing he’l be remembered for

  • fitch your favourite fighter? i didnt think that was possible

  • He’s a legend in decision victories.

  • “to be the man…Wooooooooo! you got to beat the man”

  • jon fitch could do this forever.

    such a great person who is so dedicated with his diet and work ethic, he is the next randy couture.

    should gsp move up and fitch fight for and win the vacated title, i could see him finishing fights.

    he is a 4th or 5th round finisher. wearing down his opponents to where he comes out fresh every round, and them slightly slower. soon enough, they make a mistake and get subbed.

  • Josh Koscheck now if he gets back into the title pick and Fitch is the champ? Does Kos go up or down in wieght classes or fight him like a real man?

  • guys i think all the MMA fans need to realise is this is MMA it dont matter if fitch lays and prays he wins that the beauty of this sport, no one complains when theres a brutal knockout they shouldnt either when its a ground fight. its not boxing or grappling its MMA !!!!!!

  • Another thing is fitch may get decisions all the time and pulled to bits for not finishing fighters but lets face who finishes him? he is tough and very very durable, i think BJ going to have problems in this fight like he did against GSP 2, he has faced nearly every welterweight out there including very dangerous strikers, you cant critisize him for not finishing fights in the given time against people who train day in and day out to be there very best

  • Fitch is 13-1 between 2005 and 2010

    who else in the entire UFC apart from AS and GSP have done that, the loss was a decision

  • I consider Fitch to be one of the greatest fighters alive but to be a legend you have to do something legendary like have a 10 year win streak or be successful at multiple weight classes or be on the winning end of a MAJOR upset. I don’t see this in Fitch. I also do not believe he will ever hold the title in the UFC, not because the UFC is superior but because the guys he would have to get through have the perfect skill sets to beat him. At WW (assuming he beats Penn) He will have to face either GSP or Shields. Both are better ground fighters and both can keep him on the ground. GSP also has superior striking. At MW he would either have to beat Silva or, again GSP. I do not see any possibility of Fitch grinding on AS the way he does on WWs. I believe that Silva would destroy him.

  • if GSP beats shields he is seriously going to wish he didnt fight silva
    i think anderson will give him some respect and then beat the SH++ out of him easily

  • I think that “legend” means that he would not be forgotten. So?? Legend or no?

  • He is an elite fighter without a doubt. But, how can you consider somebody a legend that has never been Champion?

  • He’s considered a current top 10 fighter but he needs to beat Penn, take the title, beat GSP, and defend it.

  • agreed. people say performance matters so if it does he should be p4p because he dominates allmost everybody

  • Who cares let them decide. I don’t care where they fight as long as they do.

  • GSP will have to charge in immediately and take a chance at a very accurate knee or punch or kick or elbow or new move and take it down and smother him while defending against subs in every round and if he gives AS 60 seconds of air he will have no skillset to keep the spider from timing him and ending the fight dramatically.

  • now that were on the topic of gsp vs silva….. i think gsp is not as hard to beat as he looks. hes always so over technical and tries to calculate everything, which is good most of the time, but all his fights have such a strict technical game plan that if the fight starts not going his way i think he would fold. the same thing happened to frank mir. silva, on the other hand, is pretty much the oppisite. he may have somewhat of a gameplan but is not afraid to go out of it, and he has shown that he can take a long, one sided beating and still have the heart and mental focus to finish the fight. gsp is too much of an athlete and not enough of a fighter, which is why i think silva would beat him.

  • GSP will be considered one just for the way he demolishes his opponents. When was the last time GSP had his ass kicked around? The first Penn fight? The first Sera fight? GSP has never been “dominated” and he has avenged his two losses. So technically, he’s unbeatable. In my eyes, beating someone that beat you wipes it clean.

    In all godamn seriousness, GSP needs to lose just so we can see the GSP of old come back, stronger, harder, faster and start getting reak nakeds, armbars and elbow TKOs.

  • …just want to add that I know he didn’t lose to Penn. The other loss, aside from Sera was to Matt Hughes.

  • Oooo, you so you think GSP’s trainers setup only one possible game plan? In war there are three game plans; the attack, the counter and the oh-shit. Normally, the attack goes as planned. But sometimes you have counter and when that fails, oh shit, you stick to your instincts and survival skills and go guerilla style.

    GSPs war manual is no different. As a champ you have to think like a commander and assault accordingly or adapt to the changes in the battlefield.

  • I definetly say that you don’t need to hold a belt to be a legend but I am not 100% sold that Fitch is one. There is a case to be made for it but is him and GSP this ages Big Nog and Fedor? Not yet at least and never will be if GSP leaves his division 🙁

  • I really think he does because to the fans he doesn’t have the finishes that might consider him a legend without the belt. He needs to win the belt and he also needs some finishes because he really hasn’t had one in awhile.

  • I dont think Fitch will ever be considered a legend because of his fighting style,he’l just be known/remembered as a very good fighter.

  • What I think he is getting at is that GSP has almost always been able to stick to a plan but AS is very unconventional many times and GSP has never faced someone who changes on in a moment. All of GSP’s opponents stay the same throughout the fight and AS is a different oponent alltogether. Technique is easeir for AS to find a way. For instance GSP has rarely needed to change up to a completely new plan in a fight because the fighters he faces are strictly on a certain style.

  • Yes he does need a title any title to be considered a legend. Although he is boring to watch (according to other) winning is never boring. Fitch NEEDS to be a champion, if you look through history it is very rare to find a legend in an individual sport that was not a champion, title holder, etc.

  • LOL ya i became a fan after the GSP fight.
    1. Nick Diaz
    2. Anderson Silva
    3. Shogun
    4. Fedor
    5. Jon Fitch
    So not my Fav, but top 5

  • name one fighter thats a legend who’s never held a title then lets compare him to Fitch

  • To become a legend Jon Fitch you need to either to knockout/submit Penn impressively or go down swinging because Penn is a legend and he too has fought the very best in the world. If u can pull it off Fitch without a decision victory myself and many others will remember u as a legend!!