Champ Rousimar Palhares ready to fight Jon Fitch, waiting on assignment from WSOF


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WSOF welterweight champ Rousimar Palhares is back in the gym and looking to book a fight. And while he initially expected to face Jon Fitch in September, “Toquinho” says he’s now just waiting to hear when he can fight again.

“I am ready,” Palhares (16-6) told MMAjunkie in his native Portuguese. “I was supposed to fight Jon Fitch on Sept. 13, but I guess WSOF needed to change the date, so I am training and ready to fight him or whoever they want to put in there against me. I’m just waiting for them to set the new date.”

Palhares, who won the WSOF welterweight title with a submission victory over Steve Carl in March, was expected to fight this summer at WSOF 11, when the promotion held its first event on network television. But the Brazilian submission master pulled himself from the July 5 NBC-televised fight in order to care for his mom, who was set to undergo surgery for extreme thrombosis in her legs.

Palhares said that procedure went according to plan, and his mother is now making a fine recovery.

“My mom now is well, thank God,” Palhares said. “She is still wrapped up in bandages, but the operation was successful, and she is slowly getting better.”

And with his mom’s condition secure, Palhares has returned to the gym. He took some criticism for his decision to withdraw from the summer appearance, but the 34-year-old said he’d do it just the same if he had to go through it all over again.

“Absolutely,” Palhares said. “I am who I am and owe everything that I have to my parents. They will always come first. I do not understand how anyone could think different.”

So now Palhares waits on his assignment. He said the September date would have been suitable, but WSOF officials told him they have different plans. What exactly those are, he doesn’t know, but he assumes Fitch (26-6-1) is still the No. 1 contender.

“I think Fitch is a great fighter, and I think he deserves to fight for the title,” Palhares said. “But I’ll fight who ever they want.”

In a perfect world, that will come sooner rather than later, as he’d appreciate the opportunity to compete two more times in 2014. In the meantime, Palhares is just happy his mom is healthy, and now he’s ready to get back into the cage.

“I would like to thank all the support from WSOF, from my team, my friends fans and everyone who sent their prayers and wishes for my mom’s health,” Palhares said. “Thank you so much. My mother is everything to me, as anyone’s mom and dad should be.”

WSOF’s next event takes place Saturday at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with “WSOF 12: Palomino vs. Gonzalez.”

For more on WSOF 12 and other upcoming WSOF events, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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