As Jon Fitch prepares for his UFC 111 bout with Thiago Alves, he's lobbying for a welterweight title rematch with Georges St. Pierre, and he's got his talking points down pat.
"I've cleaned out one side of the weight class, [Alves has] cleaned out the other. I beat him, it's kind of like putting all those wins in my back pocket, too," Fitch says in the upcoming Countdown to UFC 111 show. "If I could stop Thiago Alves I did something twice that GSP couldn't do in five rounds."
That echoes something Fitch said a couple months ago: He believes finishing Alves (which he previously did with a second-round TKO win over Alves in 2006) would put him next in line for a fight with St. Pierre.
I don't think there's any question that if Fitch beats Alves, he'll walk out of the Octagon as the No. 2 welterweight in the world. But that's not the same thing as saying he deserves another shot at St. Pierre.
To me, giving a challenger a second shot at the champion only makes sense if the challenger has previously done something in the cage with the champion that makes us think the rematch could end up differently. Shogun Rua deserves his rematch with Lyoto Machida because their first fight was a close decision that easily could have gone the other way. If Frank Mir beats Shane Carwin, Mir has a strong case for a rematch with Brock Lesnar because he's already beaten Lesnar once before.
But does anyone think Fitch-GSP 2 would go differently than Fitch-GSP 1? I sure don't. When Fitch and GSP fought at UFC 87, the judges gave GSP the fight 50-44, 50-44 and 50-43. Nothing has changed since then to make anyone thinkg Fitch has a real chance of beating St. Pierre.
All of this, of course, is based on the assumption that St. Pierre beats Dan Hardy in the UFC 111 main event. If Hardy upsets St. Pierre, that changes everything, and the Fitch-Alves winner would absolutely be worthy of a title shot against Hardy. But as long as St. Pierre is the champ, it's hard to see Fitch being the one to take his belt from him.