Jon Fitch is one of the most successful fighters to ever set foot in the Octagon; yet he is also one of the most criticized for having a lackluster fighting style.
Fighters that are good at planting their opposition on the mat and working a ground and pound attack are often labeled “boring.” And Jon Fitch at times has had that label plastered across his forehead.
Never mind that his overall record stands at 24-4-1, while his in-Octagon dossier reads 14-2-1. Just disregard that Fitch counts among his victories the likes of Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez, Paulo Thiago, Mike Pierce, and, at UFC 153 on Saturday night, Erick Silva.
“People complain about Jon Fitch laying on people?” questioned UFC president Dana White following UFC 153. “This is mixed martial arts; your job is to keep him from doing it.
“Tonight, Erick Silva was doing that. Fitch was grinding him against the fence the way that he does and Silva got out and countered. It was a back-and-forth fight. Both guys looked awesome. It was a war.”
Fitch said heading into the fight that he wanted to put on a Fight of the Night performance and that’s exactly what he did, literally. Not only did White sing he and Silva’s praises, he awarded them the UFC 153 Fight of the Night, which meant an extra $70,000 bonus for each of them.
“I gotta give credit to my opponent, Erick Silva,” remarked Fitch at the post-fight press conference. “Great fights are made when both guys are coming in to finish and take risks. Tonight, he was the perfect opponent for me to kind of show what I’m really about, kind of restart my career, and give myself a fresh breath, help my family out and make some money.”
What Fitch is referring to, as he explained on MMAWeekly Radio leading up to UFC 153, is that the last couple years of his career have been pretty heavily burdened by injuries and other circumstances that have kept him out of the Octagon quite a bit. Saturday night’s fight was only Fitch’s fifth since 2009.
So just getting back in the Octagon was a financial load off of Fitch’s mind, but to score a Fight of the Night bonus on top of his show and win money certainly puts Fitch back in a much happier place.
“It gives me a lot of comfort, gives me space, not have to worry about money. I can just focus on training and doing what I love.”