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Jon Fitch on Talking Smack, UFC 100, and Fighting a Man in a Dress

At UFC 100 next weekend Jon Fitch takes on Paulo Thiago, the relatively unknown Brazilian who shocked his teammate Josh Koscheck in his first UFC fight.  Here he tells us why he’s not playing along with the revenge storyline in this fight, or any storyline in any fight, for that matter, and he ponders what it might take for him to get the rematch he wants against UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre.

You came out to fight Akihiro Gono right after his epic evening gown entrance.  What was that like?

I was backstage right behind him, just a few feet away in the staging tunnel, and I saw these girls in dresses.  I was like, ‘Why are the ring girls up here?’  Then I realized, oh shit, it’s Gono and his cornermen.  I put my head down and didn’t watch the entrance because I didn’t want to start laughing.  

The funniest thing was in between rounds when I look over and see this girl in pantyhose and a little bit of skirt hanging out below a t-shirt running into the Octagon.  I was like, ‘What is she doing in the cage?’  Then, again, I realized it was Gono’s corner.  They didn’t have time to change.  They took off the wigs but just put t-shirts on over the dresses.  So that was a little distracting.  I told Crazy Bob that I’m going to do that to him next time, put him in a dress.

Did you ever think, ‘Man, if I lose to a guy who came out in a dress I’ll never live it down?’


Nah, I don’t care.  I know Gono and he’s a great guy who brings a lot of personality into the sport.  He works hard and takes the sport very seriously, but he also knows how to have fun.  The sport needs guys like that.  

Now you’re fighting Paulo Thiago.  That doesn’t seem like a big step up from Gono.  More like a step sideways.

It depends on how you look at it.  Your casual fans, your newer fans, to them Paulo Thiago has a bigger name than Gono does.  They have no idea who Gono is.  The guy’s been fighting for fifteen years and has only been finished a handful of times, and yet they say I suck because I didn’t finish him.  To those people, Thiago is the guy who knocked out Koscheck and that’s all they know about him.  So it’s still beneficial for me.  I don’t care what other people outside say about it.  The guy’s still in the UFC.  If he’s in the UFC, he’s a good fighter.

He didn’t look all that great before landing that one uppercut on Koscheck.

But he’s not known for his stand-up.  He’s known for his ground game.  What that shows you is he’s got one-punch power and he’s got a good chin and can survive.  And we don’t even know what his ground game is like.  So it’s a dangerous fight.

Do you think the UFC gave you this fight because of the revenge angle?

I think so.  They sometimes try and get me to play that role like some of the other fighters do, talking smack and all that.  They even bait me with a guy who beat one of my teammates, but it doesn’t work.  

Yeah, you never really get into the pre-fight hype trash talk.

I don’t think that’s what this sport is about.  I think if you put two top fighters against each other, that should sell itself.  I don’t think you need all the promotion, all the smack-talking.  If you put good fighters together, that’s what the sport is about.  That should be enough.

Obviously though, the UFC feels differently.  When two guys have any sort of rivalry, like Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy, they hype it as much as possible to exploit that angle.

Yeah, but I feel like it gets watered down because you see it over and over again.  These guys talk all this smack to each other, they hate each other, and then afterwards they’re fine.  It’s kind of silly to me.  I think fans don’t take those fights seriously anymore.  You see it so many times and hear about how these guys hate each other, and at this point it’s just like, yeah, okay.  Sure they do.  The fans aren’t stupid.  They can see through that.

Have you ever felt any animosity toward anyone you’ve ever fought?

No, I’ve only felt like I had points to prove.  When I fought [Josh] Burkman I felt like I really had a point to prove.  It felt like they thought I was being brought in to lose the fight.  I really wasn’t getting much respect from his side.  It wasn’t personal, but I felt like I had to prove a point.  People ask me, ‘How can you fight a guy and then shake his hand afterwards?’  To me it’s like, we just fought.  What else are we going to do after fighting for fifteen minutes?  What, fight some more after the fight?

If you’re Nick Diaz, you start a fight in the hospital.

That’s petty to me.  I’m in it for the love of the sport.  Not for any of that other stuff.  I want to know that I’m getting better and that I can kick my ass from the previous day.  There’s no point in me kicking everyone else’s ass and then settling for wherever I’m at.  If I’m not improving, I could be the best fighter in the world and it wouldn’t matter.  I’d never know what heights I could reach.

Who do you like in the GSP/Thiago Alves title fight?

I don’t really like picking fights because I think it ruins watching them.  I prefer to just watch and see what happens.  I will say though that I want GSP to win because I want a rematch for the title against GSP.

Don’t you think if GSP wins it would be harder for you to get a title shot since you’ve already fought him once?

It all depends.  If they feel that it’s a big fight and people are interested in it and it’s going to make a lot of money, then they’ll make it happen.  But like with them bringing Vitor [Belfort] back for a title shot against Anderson [Silva].  Vitor’s a good fighter, but what’s he done to deserve a title fight over [Nate] Marquardt?  He’s had a great career but I would think Marquardt has done more to earn that fight.  But it will make a lot of money and probably more money than a rematch with Marquardt, so that’s why they’re doing it.  

By that logic, wouldn’t it help you to try and hype up a potential rematch to generate more fan interest?

It’s just not me.  I’ve chosen to take a humble path and not focus so much on money.  Because it’s true, this sport pays people to be arrogant loudmouths, but it’s just not in me.  I respect the sport so much and think something so much better could evolve from this sport, like we could save the world with mixed martial arts.  I think the attitudes some people have about this sport are selling it short.

There’s at least a perception that the UFC was a little upset with you over the video game licensing deal and that’s why they pushed your last fight to the dark portion of the card.  Does that bother you?

I don’t even try to think about it.  As long as I’m getting good fights against quality opponents, I don’t care.  

So it doesn’t matter to you whether people see your fights?

I’m from a wrestling background.  I’m used to wrestling in a gym in front of fifteen people.  That’s not the motivation for me to do what I do.  Whether there are ten thousand people out there or ten, you’re going to get the same performance out of me.  

Thanks, Jon.  Anything else to add.

Nope, just check out FitchFighter.com and MMAInstructional.com.

(BF)

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The Man- July 5, 2009 at 7:18 pm
gay freakin guy ^
common sense- July 5, 2009 at 6:16 am
cool freakin guy
831 Son- July 4, 2009 at 9:41 pm
And retarded as fuck.
The Man- July 4, 2009 at 9:39 pm
Your gay.
UFC fan- July 4, 2009 at 8:21 pm
OH holy fuck the potato has attracted yet ANOTHER goofy inbred moron with no education, on meth.
Goodamn it where do you bums get computers?
fuck off "the man" and take your homo friends, HAL and 831 son with you. And all the other insane douchebags. I hate to say it but at least TUF gay was more informed and fun to slap around than this new breed of internet moron.
The Man- July 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Fuck yourself faget . you need to die. drink and go for a drive man. Why does an Athlete HAVE to be a spokesperson or role model? they get paid to be athletes not a fucking role model. And Diaz got robbed a lot in the UFC. A lot of bullshit decisions. Your an embarrasment. Suck these ballz bitch. 209.

BTW. Hope you die.
Keyser Soze- July 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm
The Man... there's a big difference between goon, and athlete. An athlete typically acts like a professional and tries to be a role model and spokesperson for his community, whereas a goon just tries to be a bully and acts a fool because it inflates his ego and believes it increases his popularity.

Diaz is an embarassment, and his track record in the UFC is less than spectacular. Fighting 2nd rate fighters in weaker organizations he does okay, but put up against top fighters he certainly doesn't fair well.

Clay Guida is entertaining, Leonard Garcia is entertaining, Forrest Griffin is entertaining.... why is it they don't have to act like an ass-pick to be entertaining? Trying to justify a 2nd rate fighter's bad antics by chalking it up to "being entertaining" is weak at best.

BTW... it's "You're", not your. Rebuttal, not rebudle. Good job.
Bloodlust- July 4, 2009 at 4:17 pm
Jonny's a fighter's fighter....all the best to him in the future
831 Son- July 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm
What part of the 209 you from. I used to live on Kelley Drive, Stockton. Shits rough out there.
The Man- July 4, 2009 at 11:04 am
nice mma math douchebag. thats like when Chuck fought Wanderlei and dumbasses were like " Oh well Silva beat Jackson twice and jackson beat liddell so Silva will win". stupid. Diaz is a better fighter now then he once was. he improves every fight. 209 BITCH>
cdlaforc- July 4, 2009 at 6:38 am
On paper Diaz got beat by Sanchez and Sanchez got beat by Fitch.
The Man- July 3, 2009 at 9:44 pm
Keyser Soze. First off. Diaz is way too much to handle on the feet for fitch and too much on the ground. The only advantage Fitch would have is his wrestling, but no matter where he would like the fight to go he would have to smother Diaz. They both have a ton of heart and it would be an incredible fight im sure. Diaz would win though. At least on paper. Now onto the level of class that the fighters maintain in the public eye....

Fitch basically gives all the right answers and you can tell that he holds back when speaking of his issues regarding the power struggle between him and the UFC. Diaz on the other hand speaks his mind and is honest. Which is a quality i admire in a person, especialy an Athlete.

Diaz does nothing for the sport? Are you fuckin kidding me man? You dont have to like him, but he always puts on entertaining fights and keeps the crowd interested. He fights with one of the biggest hearts in the game and has a never say die attitude. His life is fighting. And thats the way it should be. He takes it serious and doesnt fuck around man.

And as far as the "IQ of a cheerio" ? Your not even worth a rebudle keyboard warrior. Chump. 209 Bitches.
CreamyTitties- July 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm
John Fitch is awesome. I would love to train with this guy.
Keyser Soze- July 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm
First off, I think "The Man" has the IQ of a cheerio, and think Fitch would put a pounding on Nick Diaz. During the GSP match, Fitch showed a ton of heart and willpower, and balls of steel. Fitch is a warrior and

Though I think a rematch vs. GSP would end the same way as their first fight, I'd rather watch Fitch lose ten times than see a Diaz (don't matter which one) or a Hughes or Bisping win even one more time.

Classy fighters help build up the UFC (and mma in general) against the stigma of the "barbaric" perception some people still have of it, and FItch is a good example of a an ambassador as it makes the transition to mainstream sport(s).

Fighters like Nick Diaz do nothing for the sport, and twenty years from now, when they are old and can't even knock out stupid little internet trolls like "The Man", they'll have come full circle.

Couldn't do anything constructive with their lives but fight. Then they fought and never really achieved anything. And when they're old and feeble, they'll still have and be nothing, except a waning role model to a bunch of uneducated wannabe gangsta potheads.
Smeewa- July 3, 2009 at 5:41 pm
saving the world one punch at a time.
Dante- July 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm
I totally agree with Dustin Hazelett.
Horror Fighter- July 3, 2009 at 5:10 pm
So MMA needs less trash talking, more cross dressing. Got it...I think.
Dante- July 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm
Fitch FTW
greenseed- July 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm
"the man" is an idiot but i do think a fight between nick diaz and fitch would be interesting

always been a fan of fitch def # 2 in WW... maybe fitch vs kampmann or swick

but i dont know if he'll beat GSP but who knows

but i do think he'll plow paulo thiago over
Adam Bomb- July 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm
Fitch is awesome, I really hope he takes this next fight in grand fashion. Hopefully KO.
ihateemo- July 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm
This fight is a gimme for Fitch. Thiago totally Serra'd Koscheck - before that he was dropping his hands when he threw blows and leaving himself wide open. Koscheck just got cocky, and then he got caught.

I don't think Fitch is a bad fighter for taking so many decisions - hell, Dan Handerson is a legend and pulls more decisions than anyone. But he hasn't TKO'd or submitted anyone in a long time. His lack of striking power was what handicapped him against GSP. Well, that and his left eye was pretty much closed up for four rounds of the fight by that insane right hand.

I think that the only way Fitch is going to start building himself up for title contention is if he starts finishing fights. The reason many people see Thiago Alves taking the fight is because of his striking. And I for one would greatly enjoy an Alves/Fitch rematch.
Savageleto- July 3, 2009 at 11:57 am
Gotta respect that.

I don't mind a tiny bit of shit talking in tiny warranted doses.

But I cringe when I feel it going into the direction of the WWF...

831 Son- July 3, 2009 at 11:39 am
Jon Fitch is pretty tight. Nice interview.
Dubbayoo- July 3, 2009 at 11:33 am
Jon Fitch is cool.
SiDeBuRnZ- July 3, 2009 at 10:31 am
If Fitch really does lose a rematch against GSP, I wonder if he'd consider changing weight classes like Rich did?
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