and Jon Fitch
have each had one crack at UFC gold, and the winner of their Saturday rematch will get one more try.
That's the word from UFC President Dana White
, who confirmed that the victor of the Alves-Fitch co-main event at UFC 117
will receive another welterweight title fight opportunity.
That man, however, would be second in line behind current No. 1 contender Josh Koscheck
, who will eventually meet current champion Georges St. Pierre
after the conclusion of the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter. That bout will likely take place in December, meaning the Fitch-Alves winner could have an 8-9 month wait before fighting for the belt.
Still, it could make for an interesting scenario if Fitch is able to defeat Alves, and Koscheck upsets St. Pierre.
The possibility led to a somewhat tense moment at Thursday's UFC 117 press conference, when White announced the possibility, adding that Fitch "will fight Koscheck if he wins," even though Fitch and Koscheck -- teammates at the San Jose-based American Kickboxing Academy -- have repeatedly said they would never face each other in the cage.
When asked about that, however, Fitch declined to answer directly, saying he was focused on the current task at hand, beating a healthy Alves.
"Everything in the future will be dealt with in the future," he said.
Fitch and Alves were originally scheduled for their rematch at UFC 111, until Alves was forced to withdraw after having a brain irregularity discovered during pre-fight testing. Alves eventually had surgery to correct the problem.
The two first met in June 2006 when both were rising prospects. Fitch won by TKO on an upkick in the second round, though both fighters have evolved greatly since then.
Fitch is 22-3 with one no contest, with St. Pierre handing him his only loss since Dec. 2002. Overall, he's won 12 of 13, including four straight bouts. The 26-year-old Alves, meanwhile, is 16-6 overall, and hasn't fought in over a year since losing via unanimous decision to St. Pierre. A longtime veteran of the UFC, Alves is 9-3 while competing in the octagon.
While it was believed that new UFC addition Jake Shields
might earn a title shot if he beats Martin Kampmann
at UFC 121 in October, it now appears he'll have to win more than once to become the division's top contender.