Ben Fowlkes
Friday August 8th, 2008

Jon Fitch isn't a happy man heading into his welterweight title bout against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87. He knows that fans and self-proclaimed "experts" alike aren't giving him much chance to win. Despite his impressive win streak, few think he has what it takes to dethrone the current champ.

While he admits his style may be methodical, Fitch wants to make one thing clear: It gets the job done.

"A lot of my wins are ground-out wins, hard-fought wins," he said. "They're not flashy. I'm not doing highlight-reel stuff to my opponents, because my opponents are, on average, way better than what most other guys see consistently. That makes it harder to get the flying, spinning back-kick knockout on somebody who knows what they're doing."

Maybe it's part of the reason many fans still don't really know who Fitch is. His climb to the top of the UFC's welterweight ladder has been relatively quiet and he's not the type to create controversy outside the octagon. So, Fitch has flown under many people's radars thus far. And while he may not enjoy St. Pierre's superstar status, Fitch is certainly not one to be overlooked.

Fitch barely missed his shot at reality-TV stardom when he was cut from the cast of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He made it as far as the airport before getting a call on his cell phone, telling him to turn around and go home. At the time, it seemed like his shot at the UFC had just been snatched. In the long run, however, it worked out in his favor. When he did finally enter the UFC, it was under much better conditions.

"I wasn't locked into a long-term deal like The Ultimate Fighter guys," he said. "They had pretty terrible contracts. They were only going to be making around $20,000 after like, nine fights. That's pretty bad. You could be 9-0 and still making that kind of money. Those contracts really wouldn't have benefited me. Plus, you could get dropped at any time. Looking back on it, it was really beneficial for me not to make it onto that show."

On almost every rankings list, Fitch stands among the top welterweights in the world -- right behind St. Pierre. The question he still has to answer is whether he can win the big one, and whether he can find counterattacks for the champion's extensive skill set.

"I don't see any one thing that's going to win this fight," Fitch said. "It's not like the old days where you have to worry about just wrestling or just striking or just jiu-jitsu. It's everything, and I think I have everything it takes to win this fight. It will just be who wants it more when it comes down to it. I'm not planning on anything other than coming to fight hard and fight for every position."

On Saturday night, we'll find out if that's enough to upset one of the sport's pound-for-pound best.

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