By the time UFC welterweight Jon Fitch (23-4-1 draw, 1 NC, MMA) steps into the cage to face Erick Silva (14-2, 1 NC, MMA) at UFC 153, it will have been close to a year since his last fight in the Octagon. In December 2011, Fitch suffered a 12-second knockout loss to Johny Hendricks. Since that loss, he's been striving to make his return and has dealt with knee injuries that kept him out of a scheduled fight against Aaron Simpson in July. Wednesday night, Jon Fitch said to MMA Fight Corner that he is fully recovered and ready to make an impact on October 13 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil against the UFC's rising prospect, Erick Silva.
"I've been having to battle with some different minor injuries throughout the past year and a half or two. My body's feeling good. I haven't had any problems or complications this fight camp. It's been the best fight camp I've had in a long time and I'm excited to face someone like Erick Silva on the 13th."
Now that Fitch feels rejuvenated and ready to go, he wants to make sure he makes a statement against Silva. Prior to his loss at UFC 141, Fitch fought BJ Penn in Japan, that fight went to a draw. With UFC 154 expected to have top contenders, Johny Hendricks and Martin Kampmann, face-off in the 170 lb division in what should a division title eliminator, Fitch knows he'll have to work hard to get his name recognition back.
"I've only had two fights in something like a year-and-a-half, or a little over a year-and-a-half, and that sucks, so you know people forget pretty quickly in this sport. So, I'm looking to take this opportunity to remind people that I'm still here and that I'm to be feared in this weight class."
Going to fight overseas in Brazil's HBSC Arena, Fitch is not concerned with heading into Silva's native territory as the underdog. Instead, Fitch is relishing every part of the opportunity. "I'm pretty excited about getting to fight in Brazil. When I first started fighting it was one of my goals to get the opportunity to fight in Brazil," Fitch said. "It's always been one of my goals to fight in these places. It's one of the reasons I got into this sport. When I wrestled at Purdue University, one of the things that I fell in love with was getting to travel around the country and wrestle all over the place, see places of the world that I normally wouldn't. Now it's just to a bigger level. I get to visit to exotic places all over the world and fight all the locals."
The trade off sometimes is that the home crowd doesn't cheer you on, but Fitch thinks he can convince them to change their mind. "I don't necessarily want to shut that crowd up, I just wanna pull a Rocky 4, get them on my side, make them love me, make them respect me. That's more of what I'm looking to happen then make me shut them up. I'm not going in there to disrespect or try to one up their country. I'm just trying to show them what I can do and what I am as a fighter," Fitch stated.
When Fitch makes his return to the welterweight division, the complexion of it will have changed for sure. Until current UFC Welterweight Champ Georges St. Pierre and Interim UFC Welterweight Champ Carlos Condit fight to unify the belt in November, no contender at 170 will know who gets the title shot next; though the winner of Hendricks-Kampmann could be the next challenger.
"I think the division is all up in the air right now. It's like we all just had some kind of big impact on the ground like we're all standing around on a trampoline and something hit it and we all jumped up in the air and we're waiting for the pieces to hit. I think the next series fights over the next six months is going to kind of let us see how things are settling. Who's going where, and who's staying at the top, and who's making a move to the top. You never know how GSP's going to come back from his injury. When you have an injury like that to your knee or a major joint, it's never the same," Fitch said. "Things change, they slide different, the stability is different, you have to re-learn how to use that knee and you have to redevelop that confidence, some guys never do. We'll have to see how he comes back. I'm sure he'll be 100% and adapt to it fine, but you never know."
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