Next Saturday night at UFC 82: "Pride of a Champion" Jon Fitch will continue his climb up the welterweight mountain when he takes on Chris Wilson, who will be making his debut inside the Octagon.
Fitch goes into this fight with 14 straight wins, seven of those in the UFC. And he acknowledges that going through Wilson -- who is on a hot streak of his own -- will be no easy task.
"He's pretty lanky, long and has a pretty good one-two combination, good stand-up, he's pretty dangerous in that regard," Fitch told MMAmania.com. "His ground is okay, it's not great, but he's dangerous on the ground because he is long and a lot of times the long guys are pretty tricky with their positioning and can do things most guys can't, so it's important to keep your game tight with guys like that."
Fitch is well-aware that Wilson is confident going into this fight and views this as a good thing.
"I only want to fight the toughest guys out there and if you're afraid to fight somebody or are not really confident going into a fight, then I don't want to fight you," Fitch said.
Originally, Fitch was slated to take on former Pride FC fighter, Akihiro Gono. However, a Gono injury forced him out and brought in Wilson.
Both Gono and Wilson are two different fighting styles and Fitch has had to prepare differently for Wilson than he would have for Gono.
"Akihiro is kind of in-and-out, picks his spots to fight, while Chris tends to move a little bit more, also the size makes a difference, a shorter Gono compared to a longer Wilson makes it a big difference," Fitch said. "I've been changing things up with different grappling partners and sparring partners, to match up size and striking ability."
Fitch knows what he must do to walk out of UFC 82 in Columbus with his 15th straight victory.
"I need to keep my game really tight, don't get loose, because that's when he tends to catch people," Fitch said. "I have to keep it tight and keep the pressure and try to break him with my pressure."
With Fitch now being among the elite, it's only a matter of time until he gets a shot at the welterweight title.
Fitch has UFC wins over Brock Larson, Josh Burkman, Thiago Alves and most recently, Diego Sanchez. Fitch believes that he has been in the UFC long enough and has won enough to earn a title shot.
"I think that I've put in the work to deserve a title shot. I've never heard of anybody with the record in the UFC that I have not getting some kind of title shot. I don't understand why I wouldn't or what the deal would be for me not to get it," Fitch said.
"I don't get a control say unfortunately. Otherwise, I would have had all marquee match-ups against named fighters instead of against guys who people haven't heard about who are just as tough as those marquee guys."
It's going to be hard to deny Fitch a chance at the title if he wins at the Nationwide Arena this Saturday night. His long win streak is unheard of in this division and in the sport itself. He gives credit to hard work and having fun.
"It's hard work, just keeping your eyes on the work in front of you and getting done and having fun along the way. I really enjoy the workouts," Fitch said. "I enjoy learning new techniques and I don't let any of that other stuff get to me. I'm not here to be famous. I'm not here to be a rock star."
That might be inevitable, however, if everything goes according to plan for Fitch in 2008.