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Dana White Announces That Winner of Fitch vs. Penn Will Get Next Shot at UFC Welterweight Strap

(Damn, Lorenzo Fertitta has really let himself go.)

Dana White made a somewhat surprising announcement during today’s UFC 127 conference call regarding the 170-pound title picture of his promotion.

According to the UFC president, the winner of the UFC 127 welterweight showdown between Jon Fitch and BJ Penn will likely be next in line for a shot at the winner of the UFC 129 championship bout between champ Georges St-Pierre and Jake Shields.

“They’re definitely in the title picture. Let’s face it; the reality is BJ Penn has held titles in both weight classes. Fitch has fought for the title and has literally dominated that division for a long time; [he] just didn’t win the title. Either one of these guys that wins this fight is in the mix — the number one guy.”

Both fighters gave the obligatory, “I’m not looking past my opponent,”  speech when asked if they were giddy about the news.

“I don’t want to waste any time thinking about anything other than fighting B.J. right now,” Fitch said.

“As of now I’m not even thinking about [the title shot],” Penn said. “I’m not thinking about titles, I’m just happy to fight an opponent of Jon Fitch’s level and Jon Fitch’s stature.”

What makes the announcement somewhat of a head-scratcher is the fact that Penn has only fought four times in the past five years at welterweight, racking up a less than stellar 1-3 record, having lost twice to St-Pierre and splitting fights with aging former champ Matt Hughes. His last shot at the welterweight title came out of the blue as well after he decided on a whim to move up to challenge St-Pierre at UFC 94 following a debatable loss to him three years earlier.

When Penn won the belt from Hughes, he did so in his first fight at welterweight ever. A win over perennial contender Fitch would certainly raise Penn’s position in the contenders queue, whether or not it *should* earn him the next shot, but what would it do for Fitch’s? Penn is a natural lightweight with a 3-3 lifetime welterweight record and besides Hughes, has only beaten one fighter at that weight: Duane “Bang” Ludwig.

Fitch hasn’t lost since receiving the second blemish to his record at the hands of GSP, but he hasn’t exactly beaten any world-beaters since.

In his last outing he decisioned Thiago Alves who struggled with weight for the bout and was returning to fight for the first time in a year after undergoing brain surgery. He also took Mike Pierce, Akihiro Gono, Ben Saunders and Paulo Thiago to the judges’ scorecards, but none of the fighters on that list are considered contenders.

To be honest, I wouldn’t be overly excited about either fighter facing GSP before he inevitably moves up to middleweight to face Anderson Silva, and let’s face it, there’s a pretty solid chance that he will beat Shields and pack on some muscle mass to take on “The Spider”. I’d much rather see one of the guys who have been working their ways up the ladder like Martin Kampmann, Carlos Condit or Jake Ellenberger get the last crack at St-Pierre before he leaves the division forever.

Ben made a decent point today that there’s a very good chance that we’ll likely never see St-Pierre face Fitch or Penn, and we hope that his theory is correct. Anderson Silva’s only real tests in the UFC at this point at 185 are Yushin Okami and Jorge Santiago, but neither man will likely beat the dominant champ. The UFC knows this and they are also cognizant of the fact that Anderson only has a few fights left before he trades in his four-ounce MMA gloves for 12-ounce boxing ones. They’re going to want to move quickly at the GSP super fight before it loses any luster, meaning some time before 2011 closes. If St-Pierre loses, which is nearly implausible, Shields will likely grind out a decision with Penn or Fitch before giving St-Pierre a rematch.

The UFC needs Nick Diaz to inject some life into the welterweight division, whether he “plays the game” or not.

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YukonDirty- February 17, 2011 at 9:43 am
DW- dont be uneasy about the potential implications of your decision, homie!
Veazey Street- February 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm
It's telling that Dana never mentioned that the winner would fight GSP, only that he'd "be in the mix...the number one guy." GSP fights Shields a full nine weeks after these two square off. Assuming he wins, he then goes to fight Silva at middleweight. Think of the time it will take St. Pierre to recover AND put on the weight necessary for the Silva fight, now regardless of that outcome, if he were to come back to welterweight he'd have to recover and take that weight back off. You're talking about a minimum of a year and possibly a year and a half or longer before he'd be ready to face the winner of Penn/Fitch. No way the winner of that fight will wait that long, and no way Dana would want them to. The math says GSP moves permanently to middleweight assuming he beats Shields.
Now, what to make of the remaining pile of welterweights? Tournament, anyone?
RwilsonR- February 16, 2011 at 11:48 am
'Retarded fighting savant' - perhaps the best description I have heard.
Turd Furgeson- February 16, 2011 at 10:43 am
@RwR

Exactly. It's not fair that the ref didn't make Marquardt stop either. Everyone knows Palhares is a retarded fighting savant, and he couldn't process everything that was happening in that short amount of time.
RwilsonR- February 16, 2011 at 9:55 am
@ Turd - Paul Harris will beat Marquardt by spinning capoeira kick to the chin. He would have done it the first time if it weren't for the greasing, and for his one weakness... an inability to understand the refs directions while complaining about greasing.
this login sucks- February 16, 2011 at 9:40 am
imho, the best reason for the ufc to make this announcement is to that it creates a less desirable situation for gsp if he chooses NOT to move up in weight after he beats shieldzzzzzz.

georges, would you rather gain weight for the superfight vs anderson or would you rather have a rematch vs penn or fitch?

by the way, i am all for this, but if gsp does move up, they should have a short 4 man, 2 event tournament to decide the new title holder. perhaps condit vs (sanchez or ellenberger) and kampmann vs (winner of penn vs fitch).
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Turd Furgeson- February 16, 2011 at 4:22 am
@ghostboner

I'm pretty sure I saw an interview somewhere where Dana White said that Palhares' fight with Marquardt totally didn't count. Actually those might have been his exact words.
AussieJosh- February 16, 2011 at 4:03 am
I will be there cheering for Fitch! Im not a big BJ fan.......although i am a Fedor fan i belive they are both past there prime! Bring on the new gen of fighters and stop hyping old school fighters! a lot of new guys would wipe the floor with these legends.....but the promotions protect them!
RearNakedSpoon- February 16, 2011 at 3:53 am
Dana should wiggle Shields into the 185 division after GSP beats him, people say Silva needs to face a top wrestler....well Shields fits the bill perfectly and he came from Strikeforce holding the 185 belt.
Silly move by the UFC to get him down to 170 just to be destroyed by GSP when he is exactly the kind of fighter to give Silva trouble and they both have a long period of being undefeated so its easy to hype. If they both beat Shields it pegs GSP and Silva as guys who cleared out their divisions and beat the same last contender.
Silva can then either wait for GSP to get up to speed with fighting at 185 or else agree to a catch weight and the UFC can make a P4P title belt for them to fight over.
I'm really not that interested in seeing GSP dominate Fitch or Penn again but Fitch is the more deserving because he didn't quit the first fight, has gone undefeated since then and it will only be his 2nd fight against GSP.
Keko Jones- February 16, 2011 at 3:53 am
So if GSP moves up to face Silva, who will the winner of Penn vs Fitch face? I say Welterweight tourny incoming!
Michael Johnson- February 16, 2011 at 12:37 am
Yo guys, stop hatin on yo boy, I'll be fighting Tim Sylvia in 2 weeks at super heavyweight and then Dan Hardy at welterweight. I can make the cut no problem, I'm staying at 170. This cut is going well, I'm at 205 now so I should make 170 for March. Or I could fight Alves for the UFC Catchweight title.
ghostboner- February 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm
@Turd "Kevin" Ferguson - Meet Nate Marquardt. Nate Marquardt, meet Turd Ferg. I appreciate your dedication to Rousimar, but Nate is the Jon Fish of 185. You want a shot, you gotta beat him.
ghostboner- February 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm
Jimbionics nailed this shit down. Nailed it. I cannot add to his post, I can only admonish you to read it again.

Canuckistan Reefer makes some good points too, i.e. the total bitchassness of the greasegate hearings, and FIXING THE FUCKING LOGIN! I will be crashing on the couch over at Fightlinker, call me when you fix it.
bill_pharoni- February 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm
if beating guys like mike pierce and luigi fiorivanti makes you a contender, then put me in the cage. i can take those scrubs to a boring decision too. screw jon fitch.
Joesonscup- February 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm
No matter what fitch eats... he aint beating gsp... and this kinda shit happens when someone dominating like gsp cleans out the house.. its bount to happen.. also rumble johnson aint doing shit he moving to middle if anything he too big and aint good enough to beat gsp.
Fedor rules- February 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm
It's obvious that Dana is trying to push GSP to MW, and Penn to WW so he can have his two cash cows as champions, while knocking Anderson Silva out of the picture.

He's using Penn as a Fitch assassin and GSP as a Silva assassin.
Prestiege Worldwide- February 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm
Silva's next 3 fights should be GSP, Shogun, and finally Jon Jones. Those three are the only ones who would make exciting fights and would have a chance to win. GSP needs to move up to Middleweight, and Anderson needs to move up to 205. They're too goddamn good for their own divisions.
J-Dog- February 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm
Like I really want to see GSP beat Penn's ass again....
Angry Whopper- February 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm
there's nobody left in ww for gsp. bj penn is 0 for 2 against georges, fitch had the hell beat out of him for five rounds, alves (a natural middleweight anyway) couldn't hang with the champ, hughes practically had his career ended by him, koscheck has proven he definitely can't beat georges either. there's nobody left. martin kampmann can kiss my ass. he's nothing - jake shields proved how overrated both he and kampmann are during that dog's breakfast the UFC presented as a fight between those two.

i say the only fight worth watching, one that never happened, should have been sanchez vs. gsp back when diego had, what - 17 wins in a row, was undefeated, and gsp was on the rise. those two should have fought for the shot at hughes and the title back when gsp first fought hughes and lost to him.

if diego were to fight gsp now, he might be killed. my only regret about gsp is that he seems to be fighting more conservatively to protect his 'legacy' as the greatest, most dominant ww champ ever. then he'll vacate the belt for mw, never to return and thereby preserve the legend.
Hank Mardukis- February 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm
please
Hank Mardukis- February 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm
BRING BACK THE FUCKING LOGIN CP
Turd Furgeson- February 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm
I never complain about the articles, but this has to be the biggest steaming pile if horse crap anyone has ever written on the face of the planet!!! Okami and Santiago the only threats to Silva? Give me a freakin break douche bag! ROUSIMAR PALHARES is not only a threat to Silva, but will beat him and any other fighter retarded enough to step into the cage with him, including GSP, and except for Shogun. So eff you MRuss!!! Eff you in your stupid face!!!!
Canadian Chronic- February 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm
@RwilsonR,

yer summary of BJs career makes me so fuckin mad

I think my absolute dislike for BabyJ became complete when he brought his Mommy to the Greasegate hearings

n was re-inforced when he started training w/Country Breakfast
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