RIO DE JANEIRO -- World Series of Fighting welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares is back in the gym, and he’s training to beat Jon Fitch.
The leglock specialist asked to be taken off the WSOF 11 card on July 5 to assist his mother on her surgery for thrombosis in her legs, but Fitch, who was set to fight for the welterweight title, didn’t approve of his decision.
Fitch called Palhares "unprofessional", wishing he had "manned up" and fought him. By saying that, he made things personal.
"My family is my life," Palhares told MMAFighting.com. "I was sad that he said those things, but I’m not bothered. We’ll settle our things inside the cage. I don’t hope he’s my next opponent, I want him to be. I’m coming after him. I will train for him. I want him."
"I don’t know how the fight would go," he added, "but I will be ready to do what I want."
After losing to Josh Burkman in his WSOF debut, Fitch returned to the win column with decision wins over Marcelo Alfaya and Dennis Hallman, but Palhares isn’t worried about Fitch’s recent performances.
"I don’t care. I don’t even watch (his fights). I’m worried about myself and what I’m going to do in the fight," he said. "I will be ready to fight anytime they want. I want to fight this year. Please, let me fight this year, and let me fight Jon Fitch."
"Toquinho" returned to training this week at Team Nogueira, and he’s happy to see his mother recover.
"She’s way better now," he said. "She doesn’t feel any pain anymore after the surgery. I’m feeling better now that I know she’s fine. It’s tough to see your mother in a situation like that. I did everything I could to help her."