MMA  > General MMA  > Dana says Fitch-Penn winner will decide the WW #1 Contender
February 16, 2011, 12:09 PM
UFC president Dana White confirmed Tuesday that the main event fight between B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch on Feb. 27 will determine the next No. 1 contender for the UFC welterweight championship.

"Let's face it, the reality is B.J. Penn has held titles in both weight classes," White said on the UFC 127 media call. "Fitch has fought for the title and has literally dominated that division for a long time, just didn't win the title. Any one of these guys that wins this fight is in the mix -- the No. 1 guy."

Penn (16-7-1) returned to welterweight last November and scored a 21-second knockout over Matt Hughes. Although it was only Penn's second welterweight win in the UFC since taking the title in 2004, his overall credentials have always left him position for the title.

"B.J. is dangerous in any weight class," Fitch said. "He has a certain type of skill set that if you make a mistake, he'll capitalize and put you away and that transfers into any weight class. At welterweight I have certain advantages with size, but it's not going to be enough. I've had to work a lot on speed and explosiveness and keeping everything tight so there are no mistakes in the fight."

The belt will next be in contention at UFC 129 on April 30 in Toronto when champion Georges St-Pierre makes his sixth straight title defense in a bout against former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields. The winner of Penn vs. Fitch will have to see how UFC 129 plays out. White has also recently talked about a St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva superfight if St-Pierre were to emerge victorious against Shields.

Fitch last challenged for the title against St-Pierre at UFC 87 on August 2008 and has won all five bouts since the loss. In fact, Fitch's only loss in the last eight years was against St-Pierre, but Fitch says his mind isn't on St-Pierre or title shots at this point.

"I don't really want to waste any time thinking about anything other than B.J. right now," Fitch said. "He's such a dangerous opponent and he's been around for so long and if I don't give him full attention and full focus, that would be a huge mistake."

Penn also declined to comment on if this could be his last run at a title.

"I'm not thinking about titles," Penn said. "I'm just happy to fight an opponent of Jon Fitch's level and Jon Fitch's stature."

Read More: UFC News BJ+P
Comment #1 has been removed
February 16, 2011  03:14 PM ET

Oh I'm so sick of BJ. So what if he wins and GSP wins? Do we need to see him lose to GSP a 4th time?

Comment #3 has been removed
February 16, 2011  05:06 PM ET

I hope BJ beats Fitch, but I don't see either beating GSP.

Out of the two, though, I'd say Penn has a better chance of doing it. Better BJJ off his back, better boxing.

Comment #5 has been removed
February 16, 2011  08:18 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

But it seems like the plan is for GSP to vacate his title once he beats Shields (if) and move up to 185 and fight Anderson.

Well, this is hardly news.
We knew BJ would move to title shot if he won.

But does anyone believe #1 contender gets a title shot? Ask Okami how he feels about it... :)

And while you might be right, what happens if GSP loses to Silva? Do you really think he will stay up there and not be the champ?

And what exactly happens? GSP wins and he vacates the title. Who will hold it to fight against BJ (in case BJ wins over Fitch)? what about shields? I mean, even if he loses to GSP, wouldn't he be the top of that division once GSP goes away (seeing he is the top contender)?

This is why I think it is ridiculously confusing with this "if he wins he moves up" move...
I guess my brain would see more logic on the opposite... If he wins he stays and keeps defending his title, if he loses he moves up (like BJ just did)

February 16, 2011  09:39 PM ET

I kind of hope Penn beats Fitch that way he can face GSP again, and if he loses to him for a 3rd time his fans will stop whining about grease gate from the last time. I don't think GSP should go to 185. If he does it would only be to face Silva ( who I think beats him handily) and I can't see him staying at MW.

February 17, 2011  07:22 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

A 2nd time you mean? Also, I think if GSP wins he's vacating the title and moving up to fight Anderson.

Actually I mean a 3rd time. Don't know why I thought they had 3 fights already.

Comment #9 has been removed
Comment #10 has been removed
February 17, 2011  12:46 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

The winner of Fitch-Penn have a lot of possibilities. Winner of Alves-Story? Kampmann? Condit? Lytle? It would make things much more interesting for sure.

Yes I agree, Penn should beat Fitch. I dont know if would want to watch Penn vs GSP 3rd time around but Pen vs who you mention would be very interesting.

February 17, 2011  12:49 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

A 2nd time you mean? Also, I think if GSP wins he's vacating the title and moving up to fight Anderson.

I think he will stay if he wins, if he loses there is no reason to have a Roy Jones career. He needs to stay in a weight class where he can keep building his legacy. I think MH maybe too much for him to compete.

Comment #13 has been removed
Comment #14 has been removed
February 17, 2011  04:13 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

I think if he beats Shields he has nothing to prove at WW. Plus Dana said if GSP wins he fights Anderson. Also, GSP has said if he moves it will be permanent. Add it all up, and I think if/when he beats Shields he's vacating the title.

So do you think if he loses to Silva he would still stay in MW?

February 17, 2011  04:21 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

I think if he beats Shields he has nothing to prove at WW. Plus Dana said if GSP wins he fights Anderson. Also, GSP has said if he moves it will be permanent. Add it all up, and I think if/when he beats Shields he's vacating the title.

while I agree this is the same thing I've come with the conclusion, I would really HATE to see GSP become a middle of the pack if he loses to Silva.
If he wins, everything is good, he should stay at his new weight Class.
But a loss? why stay and be nobody if he can go back down and dominate until the end of his career?

And it is not GSP's fault he cleared up the division! it's up to Dana to find more challenges for him (like he brought Shields).
And I highly disagree there would be no challenges for him in WW.

BJ finally is doing it right by staying @ WW before fighting a top contender (so he doesn't gas).
Fitch. Shields. heck, a lot of LW's might go up now that the weightClass is merging with the LW's from WEC... besides fighters evolve. maybe someone who lost to GSP would pose as a threat to him this time around (ok, even I don't think that would happen)...

But if it was me, i would stay put, keep winning and demanding Dana to bring in the talent.

Comment #17 has been removed
Comment #18 has been removed
February 17, 2011  04:33 PM ET
QUOTE(#18):

I think GSP wants to challenge himself. He said he walks around at 195, and wants to get to a little over 200 before he makes the jump. And by a little over 200 I mean, good weight, not burger king weight.

I know, I heard the same thing.
But I think this opens a good debate.
Is it better to move up & become a middle of the pack or stay put where you have no real challenge?
I would think the former, but history sure in more kind with the latter guys....

 
Comment #20 has been removed

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