Jon Fitch gave it his best shot on Saturday night at UFC 87 against champion Georges St-Pierre, but it just was not good enough. Going into the fight, the champion respectfully said that although Fitch was a good fighter, the champion just felt that there wasn’t one aspect in the MMA game in which he fell short of Fitch. And on Saturday, GSP proved to be right.
“The biggest thing in strategy towards Georges is to be in his face, and to never really sit still and let him get off first,” Fitch said about his game plan against St-Pierre at the UFC 87 post-fight press conference. “You’ve seen a lot of fights when his opponents just sit and wait for him, and with his speed, you can’t do that. Even tonight, it took all of the 1stRound to adjust to how fast he is. By that time, he hit me so many times in the left eye that I couldn’t really see him.”
Fitch may not have seen GSP, but MMA fans certainly saw Fitch. Sure he was out-classed in all five rounds of his first UFC title bout, but the fact that he took the best in the division to the limit shows the kind of character and skill that he has.
One of the things that the champion is known for is his strength, however Fitch didn’t feel that that is where GSP had an advantage over him. In fact, it was an area which Fitch feels no man can improve at, you just have it or you don’t.
“His overall strength I found wasn’t super imposing, but his hips are incredibly strong and quick,” Fitch said. “Even when I was in on the single leg, changing directions, and he would adjust quickly with his hips. Most guys can’t do that. It’s a God given gift that you can’t really learn.”
In addition to that, GSP’s striking was extremely quick and crisp, as he landed multiple jabs to Fitch’s face, keeping the challenger off-balance all night.
“He’s a little bit faster than I even expected,” Fitch said of GSP’s striking ability. “I thought he’d be fast, but not that fast. So…he’s a great champ.”
After their five round battle, Fitch’s face looked as he had been in a war, while St-Pierre seemingly walked away unscathed.
When asked if he thought that during their 25-minute war, Fitch had hurt the champion, Fitch humbly stated, “I hope. God I hope so. I was trying.”
Unfortunately, Fitch wasn’t rewarded with the welterweight title for his efforts, however he did walk away with the respect of the champion and all MMA fans.