Winner of Jon Fitch vs. B.J. Penn will emerge UFC’s top welterweight contender

One man has gone 13-1 in the UFC at 170 pounds with his lone loss coming in the only title-fight he’s received thus far while the other is 2-3 in the division with a trio of opportunities to procure gold and a championship victory in the mix. However, when Jon Fitch and B.J. Penn meet at UFC 127 the two talented fighters will be equals in the sense the individual walking away with a win will also get a crack at sitting atop the UFC’s welterweight throne.

Head-honcho Dana White discussed the situation on Tuesday during a UFC 127 conference call with media where he explained the company’s position on their headlining bout serving to determine the company’s top welterweight contender.

“Let’s face it…the reality is Penn has held titles in both weight classes. Fitch has fought for the title and has literally dominated that division for a long time, just didn’t win the title. Any one of these guys that wins this fight is in the mix – the #1 guy,” said the UFC President.

Fitch is currently riding a five-fight win streak starting in January 2009 and featuring the likes of Paulo Thiago and Thiago Alves. As touched on earlier, the American Kickboxing Academy staple’s only stumble inside the Octagon came as the result of a one-sided decision defeat to welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre when the two fought at UFC 87.

His foe on February 27 in Sydney has also fallen to St. Pierre, twice in fact, including a TKO at UFC 94 ultimately sending Penn back down to 155 pounds where he fought four more times before returning to 170 pounds in victorious fashion with a 21-second knockout of rival Matt Hughes last November. The performance marked Penn’s second career win over Hughes who remains the only welterweight the Hawaiian has beaten in the UFC.

In addition to the match-up between Penn and Hughes, UFC 127 will feature a fight between TUF 3 winner Michael Bisping and veteran striker Jorge Rivera as well as submission-specialist George Sotiropoulos in action against German kickboxer Dennis Siver.

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

29 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    Hmmmmm. Have we heard this before?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  • Damn it Rece you beat me to that one!
    I’ll tell you fellas this, I really want to see Fitch finish Penn…only GSP and Hughes have done so, and it would be a crowning acheivment for him. Despite how everyone hates on Fitch for being the grinder he is, I like the guy, he’s a hard worker a humble guy and even though remember GSP’s one sided beating of him as well as he does, I would LOVE to see Fitch shock the world and get that belt. Provided he can pull his same ugly strategy I think he can grind out Penn.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  • BiG BaD BuLL says:

    There is a 2 part article on this at http://overhand-right.blogspot.com that details a great solution for the welterweight division. It also delves into GSP vs Fitch, Penn, Shields, and Anderson. Check it out.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  • JOEgun says:

    I expected a title shot for Fitch but I didnt quite expect one for Penn if he won. But I guess if Penn defeats Fitch, the #2 guy at 170, then that does seem worthy of a title shot.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  • joe mo mma says:

    dont know about anyone else. but i have absolutely no interest in seeing GSP vs Fitch 2, or GSP vs Penn 3 (granted GSP takes out Shields)

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  • Sykotick says:

    If Penn wins he will be 2-2 in his last 4

    Not to mention he will be like 2-3 in his last 5 st Welterweight.

    I don’t care if he beats Fitch, a consensus #2 cuz the UFC brass stated that it didn’t matter if The Hitman beat Shields, cuz he wouldn’t get the #1 confender’s spot. I think this should apply to Penn as well till he get a couple more Ws at this weight.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  • boomnutz says:

    well if GSP wins, we know we’re seeing GSP dance with the da Spida….

    I bet if FItch wins and GSP wins, somehow Dana will have Fitch fight Kos for the belt or at least setup a fight between Kos and Alves or Shields or someone else…. but more than likely Shields Kos and Alves will all be frontrunners for the shot if Fitch and GSP wins…it’s too bad Kampman and Condit is off, that would be a good fight for the other contender

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I completly agree with Fitch being the number 1 guy if he wins here, He deserves it- where as Penn doesnt per say deserve it but it makes very good $ sense. Lets say Penn wins and GSP beats Shields and goes on to fight Silva. Well IF GSP is coming back to WW after that fight it will be as much as a year before he is back, meanwhile Penn can get the interinm title shot against whoever the #2 guy is. OR GSP vacates the belt and goes to MW for good and we get to see the winner of this match vs the winner of Alves vs either Kampmann or Diego.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • RicM says:

    So Shields gets a title shot after one shitty win (Kampman was robbed),and now the winner of Penn/Fitch will be the #1 contender?Wow……….Dana should hook me up with his dealer….he’s smoking the good stuff…….Fitch is about the most deserving,even after making the statement about not facing his team-mates.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  • boomnutz says:

    I understand the resentment towards Shields…but I think you have to consider his whole body of work and the environment surrounding the situation…Shields is the best WW (by far) in which GSP has yet to beat, I think he had won 14 fights in a row (if not more) I know is fight against Kampmann wasn’t impressive but he made a HUGE weight cut, after a year of fighting at 185, which is above his usual weight class…plus this is exactly what he was brought in for, a fresh challenger for GSP…

    As far as Bj goes, if he wins, and most of you don’t think he’s deserving, then who is??? I don’t think anyone would be more deserving given recent events, especially considering IF he wins, it will have meant he just beat Hughes and Fitch, 2 guys at or near the top of the weight class, and it does make $en$e of course…

    BTW GSP says, if he does win its a permanent move to MW, which imo further cements why BJ would deserve the shot, because you would be hard pressed to find 1 more deserving, let alone 2 more deserving guys

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • Sykotick says:

    Boonnutz:
    If a fighter is 1-2 in any division is he deserving of a #1 contender’s spot?

    Don’t answer with “well you gotta look who it is” or any of that bs, just answer if ANY fighter drops 2 then wins 1 does that mean he is deserving a #1 contender’s spot?

    Let’s say Pat Barry had lost to the mexicutioner, that would mean he was on a 2 fight skid, then he (for whatever reason) got a fight with Mir (who IMO is about the heavyweight equal to Matt Hughes) and K.O.ed him, would that mean you can throw him in with JDS to see who fights Cain next?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  • boomnutz says:

    its completely different… and yes, you do have to look at the level of competition, it’s a very important criteria, it’s what separates MMA from boxing, people don’t pad their W-L records in MMA…answer me this, if BJ were to win who would be more deserving??? This is a big IF too, and something I think everyone is feeling to realize Fitch is the #2 WW in the world and has been inarguably for a while now, that’s a big win for BJ if he gets it…i’ll repeat it again, who’s more viable??? Kos just lost, Alves – before the Howard win had back to back losses, Kampmann – just lost to Shields, Condit (given recent W-L record is probably the most viable, has a loss to Kampmann recently, and hasn’t fought the level of competition that BJ has, as far as rankings go even Hughes would have been higher than Hardy…), so who else Lytle??? Swick??? Rumble??? come on who else? convince me…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  • Guthookd says:

    I could go the rest of my life never watching either of these guys fight again and I wouldn’t miss either of them.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  • MCM says:

    Damn, ya’ll act like BJ getting a shot at the title is something outrageous and unheard of.
    Does no one remember that Brock got a title shot with a 1-1 record in the UFC?
    Does no one remember that Vitor got a title shot having NEVER fought at MW in the UFC?
    Does no one remember that Evangelista Santos went 1-0 in SF but was 18-13 overall and he got a title shot?
    BJ has only ever lost to title holders or future title holders. If he beats the #2 WW in the world after having just beaten one of the top 10 WW’s in the UFC, then sure, why the f*ck not. Give him a shot at the belt, just stack the rest of the card cause I don’t think a lot of people wanna see GSP/BJ 3.
    Much less deserving people have received title shots recently.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  • Sykotick says:

    Just about any of the guys you mentioned are more deserving Boom, and I’ll tell you why,

    Cuz they have more than 2 wins in the WELTERWEIGHT division, the division where BJ might be fighting for a title again, even though he only has 2 wins in that division.

    All his wins and dominant performances in the lightweight division don’t matter because they weren’t at welterweight, I don’t care if he had beaten Fedor and Anderson Silva in a 2 on 1, if it wasn’t at welterweight then it doesn’t count towards his deserving a title shot, but that’s just my thinking

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • MCM says:

    I normally agree with you Sykotick, but with a win BJ would have 4 wins at WW not 2. Hughes twice, Fitch, and Ludwig. Ludwig and Hughes were both top 10 when they fought and Hughes and Fitch were #1 and #2 respectively. His only losses were to GSP (twice) and Hughes. One was a #1 contender match and the other 2 were against the #1 ranked and greatest WW’s of their time. BJ also holds wins over a number of former top 10 WW’s, albeit at LW.

    All of this is immaterial though, since I don’t think BJ will be able to walk away with his hand raised against Fitch. I’m actually going out on a limb and saying that I think Fitch finishes it in the 3rd. (you heard it hear first ;) )

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • LiverPunch says:

    Fitch finish?. Can you finish a fighter with cuddles?.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  • Angry Mike says:

    I’m a little interested in watching the Fitch v. Penn fight. There’s some drama because Penn needs to reassert himself after two consecutive losses to Frankie Edgar, and Fitch has been grinding his way to a rematch for a long time. At this point I have almost no interest in watching either of them fight GSP. In their previous losses to GSP, neither of them even came close, and neither of them have improved to the point that the outcome could be any different, imo. (Yeah, I know that BJ lost the first fight by split decision, but that was back in 2006; GSP has improved; and GSP won the rematch in 2009 decisively) Being the complete MMA whore that I am, I’ll buy the ppv’s for both. But I’ll still bitch about the rematch with GSP.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • Rece Rock says:

    I’m trying to figure out what’s more odd this scenario.. or Rampage vs. Hamill ???

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • boomnutz says:

    Other than Syko (and that wasn’t a real suggestion, just a broad claim that BJ has no stake at a title shot) there have been no other takers…who else? That’s all I ask, if this is so “odd” then who else would be a legitimate, viable # 1 as of right now?????

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    Kampman with a win over Diego. But that’s only cause I think he beat Shields.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • boomnutz says:

    anyone else??? I can’t wait for that fight, btw should be sick!!! I’m going Diego, though, he looked possessed last fight

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  • adamsfamily says:

    I’ll say it now, Penn wins by rear naked choke (because no one ever has) and early on. Just got a feeling he walks out to the IZ and gets it right away.

    OK – and then what IF shields beats GSP (not so sure about that) but shake things up a bit, neh? Would both GSP and Fitch go up but start lower on the 185 ladder?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  • Creature says:

    Fitch is the man, regardless of what you say about his style the guy is still winning all his fights and at such and at an elite level. if GSP moves up WHEN he beats shields, Fitch will take over the division i say for about another 3 yrs. wait and see

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Sykotick says:

    Idk MCM I got Fitch winning but by finish? I don’t think fitch could finish a sandwich much less BJ

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    ha P. BJ?

    It’s a long limb….. but I’m still going out on it.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • stone says:

    I’d love to see BJ finish Fitch!…. But I highly doubt it… I think BJ should’ve lined up a fight with P.Thiago, Hathaway or Kampmann before going for #2

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • BigDave says:

    This one is very simple.

    Fitch will do what he always does and get another boring assed win over BJ Penn.

    As for the what will happen after that question, Neither will get a shot to be destroyed by GSP again because he will be too busy becoming the MW champ when he Makes Silve look like a amature and KTFO Da Spider.

    Fitch will then fight probably Condit for the vacant title which I think will be the best fight the could put on at 170 IMO.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • boomnutz says:

    BigDave, you may be right…I l ike Condit a lot but i’m not sure he is at the level of Fitch, Alves, Koscheck or Shields…It’s funny how for so long this division hasn’t seen that competitive because GSP has been kicking ass and taking names, once he wins then BOOM!!! there’s like 10 guys all right in the mix!!! I can’t fucking wait, hopefully Dana makes Kos and Fitch finally fight

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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