Few fighters can claim to be as familiar as Jon Fitch
is with the criticism UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre
is getting these days. Like GSP, Fitch is a dominant 170-pounder who's known for winning decisions. Also like GSP, he's taken heat for it from fans and media.
But if you're expecting Fitch to be especially sympathetic to St. Pierre's cause after UFC 129
ended in the fourth straight decision win for the champ, you might be surprised by what he told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour
"A little bit," Fitch replied, when asked whether the criticism of St. Pierre is warranted. "I think, you know, I deserve some of that criticism too. But when he's dominating somebody that well, I think it's up to the champ to put a little more pressure on somebody in the fourth and fifth round. When you've secured a pretty solid lead on the scorecards after three rounds, I think a little bit more pressure, because he never really opened up more than a couple jabs and an overhand right. I mean, double up on the right, something."
The subject is still fresh in Fitch's mind after he fought B.J. Penn
to a draw at UFC 127
in February. A scheduled rematch has been postponed while both men deal with lingering shoulder injuries, but Fitch acknowledged that his lack of a finish against Penn was ultimately responsible for the rankings purgatory he finds himself in now.
"I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in with a draw with B.J. Penn if I was finishing fights better," said Fitch, who added that accepting the offer of a rematch was "[A] no-brainer. I was pissed off about the decision; I thought I won the fight. If they needed me to go out and smash him again, I would do that for the fact that I won that fight."
The way Fitch saw it, he won rounds two and three after losing the first. The final round, where he planted Penn on his back and battered him from the top position for almost five full minutes, "could have been [scored] a 10-8, and I think the ref could have stopped it once or twice," Fitch said. "But even with a 10-9, I still won two rounds to one."
At the same time, Fitch told Helwani, he doesn't blame the referee or the judges that night for the end result.
"Honestly, the problem is I didn't finish. That's the problem. It took me a while to figure out what the hell B.J. was doing with wrestling me. I should have started the second like I started the third. That's the problem. I'm not going to point fingers at judges or people's lack of knowledge of the game. It's in my hands. I have control of the fight, whether I get the 'W' or not."
Fitch said he injured both his rotator cuff and his labrum in the fight and is scheduled for surgery on May 5. After that comes a month of inactivity that threatens to drive him crazy, he admitted, though fans can look forward to seeing him on Xbox Live and maybe even following his recovery through his popular video blogs.
As for Penn, Fitch said he didn't expect to be outwrestled by the jiu-jitsu specialist, "not for one second in my life." But at least they can share a laugh about it now.
"I saw him in Toronto and we were at the bar. I walked over to say hello...and the next thing I know somebody was shooting a single-leg [takedown] on me. I look down and it's B.J., laughing his a-- off," Fitch said. "We're on good terms, but I still want to kick the crap out of him."