Jon Fitch: A Legacy of Attrition

Robert Aaron ContrerasContributor IIIJune 15, 2013

Dec 30, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Jon Fitch during a welterweight bout at UFC 141 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Regularly criticized and inextinguishably fearless—Jon Fitch has made a career out of grinding grown men into powder. 

Fitch’s latest bout (first since being released by the UFC)—a rematch against Josh Burkman—left him spread out on the canvas completely unconscious. Burkman put the American Kickboxing Academy product's storied submission defense to the test and won. It was Fitch's first submission loss since his MMA debut back in 2002. 

This stretch of over 10 years without being submitted is a tribute to absolutely legendary durability. But per usual, the MMA community will celebrate in the fall of one of its most hated individuals. 

Jon Fitch once held a level of almost unmatched dominance inside the UFC’s most talented division. The 155-pound weight class may have been the most exciting, the light heavyweights may have had the biggest names—but head-to-head there was and is no division more dangerous than at 170 pounds. 

And Fitch played second fiddle to only the immortal Georges St. Pierre. 

Among the scalps Fitch collected during his UFC career (in which he began with an incredible 13-1 record) are the likes of Josh Burkman, Kuniyoshi Hironaka (a fringe top-10 welterweight at the time), Paulo Thiago (clear top-10 welterweight who would make a case for the top five within a year), Mike Pierce, Ben Saunders, Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves (two times) and upstart Erick Silva. 

Felipe Dana

More impressive than even this—is the absolute aura of invincibility Fitch seemed to have towards everybody not named Georges St. Pierre. 

On the back of one of the most stifling skill sets the world of mixed martial arts has ever seen nobody wanted to step into the cage with Jon Fitch. It was pegged as an automatic loss and that is an accomplishment not many men reach in combat sports. 

But, of course, the criticism loomed.

However, I ask but one thing: If Jon Fitch was any sort of a coward for his “safety-first” game plan, what does that make of the lot of welterweights who wanted absolutely nothing to do with him?