Leaving the UFC might cost Jon Fitch more than just a drop in money.

Fitch’s loss to Josh Burkman at World Series of Fighting 3 has all new implications for the 35-year-old welterweight who was once the second-best 170-pounder not only in the UFC, but on the face of planet Earth. The loss further pushes Fitch into a hole and further shows his rapid decline.

In his last five fights, Fitch has amassed a 1-3-1 record, including his current two-fight losing streak that has seen his exit from the UFC and furthermore prevented Fitch from capitalizing on the opportunity to become WSOF’s first-ever welterweight champion.

Now, instead of Fitch making even more money in a title fight through sponsorships and just the fact that he would be in the main event of a future WSOF card, the former UFC title challenger is here, in an avalanche that started with a snowball and now includes every inch of snow on his metaphorical mountain.

Fitch was once near the top of his mountain and climbing his way up with a 16-fight winning streak and a shot at UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Now, the former title challenger who was once known for his immaculate grappling skills and the inability to lose by submission has been beaten by a fellow grappler—Demian Maia—and choked out by Burkman. Heck, he couldn’t even finish a battered B.J. Penn, who was in numerous bad positions with Fitch.

Fitch’s loss to Maia was not a complete shock since Maia’s black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has allowed him to get the better of even the best middleweights. However, Fitch’s losses to Burkman and a low-ranked (at the time of their fight) Johny Hendricks were hideous.

Hendricks was able to blitz Fitch, who was making his return to the cage after almost a year off, and knocked him out in 12 seconds. Fitch, the man whose last loss came against St-Pierre six fights prior, had been beaten and beaten bad. Now, his loss to Burkman, a man he already beat, has shown us something totally different. Not only had Fitch become vulnerable to the knockout blow, but his invincibility to submissions—especially guillotine chokes—had also vanished.

Fitch isn’t the dominant fighter he once was and has some serious career soul-searching to do. He needs to take steps in order to stop his career from further spiraling out of control. Another loss and Fitch becomes a stepping stone for other fighters to build their name on. Not only that, but the pay he complained about from the UFC would look like a huge blessing compared to the money he will end up making on the regional market.

Fitch’s grappling is exceptional, and if he can revert to the form that won him the 16 fights in a row, all may not be lost. Fans might not want to see that version of Fitch, but winning is what he needs to do right now. He cannot worry about pleasing the fans, only getting his hand raised. Otherwise, the way Fitch is going, his days as an elite welterweight are definitely over.

Photo: Jon Fitch (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.