SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 22: Jon Fitch talks to the meida during an Open Workout ahead of UFC Sydney 127 at Star City on February 22 2011 in Sydney Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Jon Fitch is doing work.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight number one contender, who meets Aaron Simpson at the upcoming UFC on FUEL TV 4 event on July 11, 2012 in San Jose, California, doesn't expect to have anything handed to him "the easy way" in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
That's how it's always been.
It should come as no surprise then, to learn that a knockout loss to Johnny Hendricks back at UFC 141, just his second in 16 fights under the world's largest fight promotion, sent him tumbling down the 170-pound rankings, a place he had called home over the past couple of years.
As he explains to Heavy MMA, as long as he's got the "respect of his colleagues" and the motivation to "keep pushing forward," then he will continue to keep "grinding."
Those comments, after the jump.
"It seems as if I can’t have anything come to me easily. It always takes a lot of extra hard work. Throughout my entire life, things have always been that way. I’ve always had to work two or three times harder than everybody else just to be half as good. It’s just one of those things that have shaped the attitude I have. I just keep pushing forward. I think I coined that term 'grinding.' I started using it to describe my style, and it’s something I know is mine. If people think that I’m not beating people up in there, all they have to do is look at my opponent’s face after the fight. If I’m not doing work in there, then how did their face get so f***ed up? Overall, respect means a lot. For what all the fans think they know, the fighters themselves actually know it. When you get respect from your colleagues, it means a lot because those are the guys who are going through the same things you are, making the same sacrifices you make and have dealt with some of the same circumstances and they can empathize with what you are going through. To have respect from those guys is a big deal. I always tell people one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me came years back when I got into a van with Minotauro (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira). He came up to me and said, ‘Hey I know you – you are that tough guy.’ For him to call me a tough guy was a highlight of my career."
Fitch (23-4) is coming off a crushing knockout loss to "Bigg Rigg" last December, significant because it was the second straight performance that failed to net him a win, as the former Purdue University wrestler went to a draw opposite B.J. Penn at UFC 127 last year in Australia.
It was, as previously stated, just his second loss inside the Octagon, the first coming at the hands of reigning welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre way back in August of 2008.
Would a win over Simpson put him back "in the mix?"
Time will tell.