[Reprinted with permission from MMA Junkie.]
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Veteran welterweight Jon Fitch admits he could be happy walking away from the sport with what he’s accomplished if his Bellator debut against Paul Daley goes south.
But Fitch (30-7-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) also has big dreams for his career if he’s able to utilize his smothering attack to beat Daley (40-15-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) on Saturday at Bellator 199, which takes place at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., and airs on Paramount.
After a yearlong layoff due to injury, Fitch first wants to make sure he’s sharp. As a former WSOF champ and MMA veteran, he’s battled major cage rust with nine-month gaps between his fights.
If everything goes as planned, however, he’s keen for a big opportunity: Bellator welterweight champ Rory MacDonald.
“He’d be a great fight to have,” Fitch told MMAjunkie. “I’m not looking too far ahead of this fight. But he’s got (a win) over (UFC welterweight champ Tyron) Woodley, so I could perform well on Saturday and maybe get myself into a title shot within the next year, and be the guy who beat the guy who beat the guy.”
If Fitch has to use a little MMA math to declare himself the world’s best welterweight, there are worse things in the world. At the very least, it will give him some bragging rights after he failed to capture a title from then-UFC champ Georges St-Pierre in 2008.
And with his longtime passion project, the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association (MMAFA), pushing hard to amend the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, a move the organization expects to open up closed borders between major fight promoters, another shot at St-Pierre doesn’t sound unreasonable.
“I could call myself the best welterweight there is around,” Fitch said. “I don’t know, maybe still pull myself into a fight with Georges (St-Pierre) down the road if the Ali Act passes. Cross promotion could be possible. Maybe the fans would want to see it. Who knows.”
Such is Fitch’s mindset as he prepares for a return to competition. He’s optimistic under a new promotional banner. There’s no reason not to be, and perhaps even more because his opponent is known as a knockout artist lacking a ground game.
At the start of Fitch’s road, nothing seems out of reach. But he also needs to take the first step, which is often the hardest one.