After graduating from Carroll High School (Fort Wayne, Indiana), Fitch enrolled at Purdue University in 1997 and graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s in physical education and a minor in history. As a walk-on to the Purdue wrestlingteam, Fitch – a four-year letterman – wrestled under the tutelage of Tom Erikson and eventually became the team captain of his wrestling squad. Fitch secured a starting spot early on in his career, but struggled to find initial success. Compiling an 8-23 record his sophomore season, Fitch impressively turned that around to compile an 18-12 record in his final year. He finished with a 45-51 record overall for his collegiate wrestling career.
Tom Erikson– a former PRIDE fighter – would occasionally bring other mixed martial artists to the wrestling gym, and Fitch would be introduced to such fighters as Mark Coleman and Gary Goodridge. The sport, and the money that the top-tier fighters were making interested Fitch, and he started his mixed martial arts career in 2002.
Mixed martial arts career
Jon Fitch began his career at light heavyweight with a record of four wins, two losses and one No Contest. Understanding that the sport required cross training in various martial arts, Fitch soon left for San Jose, California to train with the American Kickboxing Academy.
In his next seven fights, Fitch fought at Middleweight and amassed wins over fighters such as Shonie Carter, Alex Serdyukov and Jeff Joslin. After failing to make the selection process for the first season of The Ultimate Fighter – a last-minute decision by the production team that left Fitch stranded in an airport with his luggage already boarded – he earned a shot in the Ultimate Fighting Championship on October 3, 2005, where Fitch defeated Brock Larson by unanimous decision in a middleweight fight.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Drop to welterweight
Soon after, Fitch dropped down to the welterweight division and won his next seven fights. With victories over Josh Burkman, Thiago Alves, Luigi Fioravanti, Diego Sanchez, and Chris Wilson (tying the record set by Royce Gracie for most consecutive wins in the UFC), Fitch was seen as a top welterweight contender. UFC President Dana White praised Fitch’s performances inside the Octagon, and indicated that Fitch would fight the winner of the Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Serra Welterweight title fight.
Fitch was defeated by Georges St-Pierre via unanimous decision (50–43, 50–44, and 50–44) at UFC 87. After the fight GSP spoke to Fitch about the growth that his own loss prompted and said that Fitch’s experience should be no different. Had Fitch beaten St-Pierre he would have had a nine fight winning streak in the UFC, surpassing Royce Gracie‘s streak of eight straight wins (a record that has since been broken by Anderson Silva, whose winning streak ended at 16 on July 6, 2013). The loss also snapped Fitch’s 16 fight winning streak, both in and out of the UFC.
Back to title contention
Fitch was released from the UFC on November 20, 2008. The dispute was over his reluctance to sign a lifetime contract to allow his name and likeness to be used in a video game the UFC released with THQ. In the end, Fitch ended up signing a licensing agreement that will allow the UFC to feature him in their UFC Undisputedvideo game release and returned to the UFC. Fitch’s exile from the UFC lasted less than 24 hours.
Fitch was then scheduled to face Thiago Alves in a highly anticipated rematch on December 12, 2009 at UFC 107. However, Alves suffered an injury and was replaced by Mike Pierce. Fitch won via unanimous decision.
Fitch was expected to finally face Thiago Alves on March 27, 2010 at UFC 111, but on March 25, 2010, Alves was forced off the card due to a brain irregularity that appeared on a pre fight CAT scan. However, Ben Saunders, who was previously scheduled to fight on the same card against Jake Ellenberger, requested that he fight Fitch instead and that fight took place on the main card. Fitch won the fight via unanimous decision.
The Alves/Fitch rematch finally took place at UFC 117. This fight was confirmed to be the number one contendership for the welterweight championship (to fight the winner of the St-Pierre/Koscheck bout). Alves again failed to make weight, weighing in at 171.5 lbs, meaning he had to give up 20% of his fight purse. Fitch went on to defeat Alves via unanimous decision. Dana White later made remarks that the manner of Fitch’s victories (primarily judges’ decisions rather than finishes) and lack of connection with the UFC fans has put Fitch’s number one contender status in doubt. Following Jake Shields‘ victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC 121, White confirmed Shields as the next in line for the Welterweight title shot, leaving Fitch’s status in the division unconfirmed. Fitch thought this funny, considering that Shields’ victory was mostly the same as Fitch’s previous performances.
Fitch was expected to face Jake Ellenberger on February 5, 2011, at UFC 126. But after B.J. Penn defeated Matt Hughes at UFC 123, UFC president Dana White decided to match Fitch up against Penn at UFC 127 in Australia instead. At the end of the fight the scorecards of the judges were (29–28 Fitch, 28–28, and 28–28). It was declared a majority draw. When asked by Joe Rogan if Fitch would like a rematch, Fitch replied that he wants another title shot more than anything. No confirmation of a rematch resulted from the interview of either fighter.
After months of dealing with a shoulder injury, Jon Fitch is back in business. “I’m back! Dr. Kavitne gave me the ok to fight,” he tweeted. Fitch has made no small secret of his desire to fight on the UFC 139 fight card that takes place in his city of residence, San Jose, Calif.
Fitch was expected to face Aaron Simpson on July 11, 2012, at UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman. However, Fitch pulled out of the bout citing a knee injury and was replaced by returning veteran Kenny Robertson.
Fitch defeated rising prospect Erick Silva via unanimous decision on October 13, 2012, at UFC 153, with the back-and-forth bout receiving Fight of the Night honors. In a prefight interview, Fitch mentioned that he was experiencing tremendous financial difficulties and that losing the fight would force him to end his full-time training so that he could get a day job to help support his family. After winning the fight, he said the victory had saved his MMA career.
Fitch next faced Demian Maia on February 2, 2013, at UFC 156. Fitch lost by unanimous decision and was subsequently released from the promotion, despite being a top 10 ranked welterweight and having a 14-3-1 record with the promotion overall. Fitch’s release from the promotion caused much debate about the UFC “code of conduct” and the general “skill-demand” in UFC, as most commentators had not expected a single loss to lead to a release from the promotion.
World Series of Fighting
On March 7, 2013, it was announced that Fitch signed a four-fight contract with World Series of Fighting. He made his promotional debut on June 14, 2013, at WSOF 3, in a rematch against Josh Burkman. Fitch was knocked down by a punch and then finished by Burkman due to a guillotine choke submission. Burkman became the second man to defeat Fitch by a submission, the first being Mike Pyle.
Fitch faced Marcelo Alfaya at WSOF 6 on October 26, 2013, winning via split decision. Despite spending most of the first round trapped in a body triangle defending against submission attempts, Fitch showed improved striking in a back-and-forth fight, dropping Alfaya and following up with heavy ground-and-pound in the third.
In July, Fitch was scheduled to fight Rousimar Palhares at WSOF 11 for the WSOF Welterweight Championship. However, on April 30, 2014, Palhares pulled out of the fight due to personal reasons. The title fight was rescheduled for WSOF 16 on December 13, 2014. He lost the fight by kneebar in the first round. After the fight, it was revealed that Fitch had failed the California State Athletic Commission‘s pre-fight drug testing. The positive test results of Fitch, who had previously been vocal in his criticism of PED users in MMA, were almost certainly due to synthetic testosterone.
Following his nine-month suspension, Fitch returned to the promotion on October 17, 2015 at WSOF 24. He faced Yushin Okami in the main event for the chance to fight for the vacant Welterweight title. Fitch won the bout by unanimous decision.
Fitch was lined up to face Jake Shields for the vacant WSOF welterweight championship at WSOF 30 on April 1, 2016. Though they have never competed together in an MMA contest, Shields holds a victory over Fitch in a submission grappling match. However, the match was later cancelled due to contract issues between Shields and the company. Fitch went on to face João Zeferino for the vacant WSOF Welterweight Championship. He won via unanimous decision.
On September 13, 2016, it was announced that Fitch would defend the WSOF Welterweight Championship against Jake Shields on November 12, 2016 at WSOF 34. On October 17, 2016, it was announced that the fight was then rescheduled to take place on December 31, 2016 in the co-main event. Fitch won the fight via unanimous decision.
In his second title defense for the now renamed league, Fitch faced Brian Foster on June 30, 2017 at Professional Fighters League 1, He won the fight in the second round due to submission, his first finish in ten years.
Article source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Fitch