UFC 127 Fight Journal: Dealing With Criticism

Jon FitchOne of the great things about mixed martial arts is the diversity of styles it offers. Some fighters like to stand up and strike, others look to go to the ground as quickly as possible, and some of us put it all together and feel comfortable wherever the fight goes. I have always prided myself on being well-rounded, well-conditioned, durable and able to break the will of my opponent.

I think that because I bring so many tools to the table, a lot of my opponents don't know where I'm going to go and more often than not concede to the fact that I will overwhelm them. It's very hard dealing with more than one thing at any one time, and I always make sure I'm bringing multiple threats into a fight. I never just rely on one skill or discipline to win a fight.

Also, you can't expect to overwhelm me with just one thing. I will quickly look to stop that one threat and then ask you to bring something else. If you haven't got anything else to offer, then that's when I take over and make my own skills count. I have a lot of tools to go through and make it a long night for you.

A lot of people label me as a 'grinder', and I was actually the one that started throwing the term out there to begin with. I did a lot of interviews a few years back and people would always ask me what my style was. The most obvious phrase to use to sum up my style was a 'grinder'. I go out there and I grind you down. I put you through a meat grinder and make sure you never feel the same once you've been through it.
These last five fights since the title shot haven't been perfect, but the growing pains are necessary to get where I eventually want to be.
-- Jon Fitch

It may not look as pretty as a surgeon who goes out there and cuts an opponent's head off, but it's no less effective. I will pulverize you and take the time to beat you into a bloody mess. If it takes three rounds to do that, I will enjoy every minute of it.

In addition to this grinding, I'm most definitely a thinker and always think my way through fights. I'm not just going out there and beating someone up. That's not how I function. If you fight like that, you'll only end up getting caught and defeated. I'm thinking about every position and every technique at all times, no matter how on top it appears I am. I don't just run out there like a berzerker and look to overwhelm my opponent. I'm constantly setting traps and planning the bigger picture. Even if you think you're getting the better of me, chances are I'm only setting you up for a big fall.

The criticism I sometimes get for the way I fight never affects me too much. I know I'm going through a transitional phase right now and a few growing pains are to be expected. These last five fights since the title shot haven't been perfect, but the growing pains are necessary to get where I eventually want to be. I need those experiences to be the fighter I want to be.

Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take a leap forward. I believe that is what I have done in recent fights and I believe that in the next couple of fights you will definitely see that leap forward. It might not have been pretty before, but everything is coming together now and I'm starting to realize just how vital these last few fights have been in my overall development.

When Tiger Woods was at the top of his game, they one day decided to change his golf swing and he started losing. After a while that new golf swing began to click and Tiger started smashing everybody again and was even better than before. It just took him a little while to adapt to the changes and trust the direction he was going in.

I'm in exactly the same position right now. I trust where I'm going and never expected it to be easy or pretty. So long as I get there in the end, that's all that matters and that's all people will remember...

UFC 127 will be live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET on Feb. 26. For more information on Jon Fitch, check out his official Web site or follow him (@fitchfighter) on Twitter.

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