The dust has barely settled on the reality that Jon Fitch is no longer in the UFC, but the former title contender is moving on from the negativity of being released to the happiness of signing his new deal with World Series of Fighting.
The MMA world was left with their collective jaws on the floor when the announcement was made at the time that Fitch, along with 15 other fighters, were being dropped from the promotion. The shock surrounding Fitch happened because at the time he was still the No. 9 ranked welterweight in the world and had been a perennial top-10 fighter for most of his UFC career.
When UFC president Dana White explained his reasoning for releasing Fitch, he said the Indiana native was on the "downside" of his career after a recent run left him at 1-2-1 over his last four fights. While the door wasn't closed on Fitch coming back to the UFC, his current run was coming to an end.
Now a few weeks removed from the situation, Fitch has moved on and isn't looking for revenge on the UFC for handing him his release. He does say, however, that he's nowhere near the "downside" of his career as White suggested.
"I think that's a good point to make. I'm finally making breakthroughs with my game and I'm getting to a new level with my training. I don't think I'm anywhere near the down turn of my career," Fitch told Bleacher Report on Monday. "I still think there's a lot of great fights left in me and I think having a new opportunity and a new showcase to put myself out there, it's going to be a better second half of my career."
The second half of his career begins with his new home at World Series of Fighting in June when he makes his debut for the fledgling promotion. Leaving the UFC was just closing the chapter on one part of his life, and this is a new piece that will be written as he begins the next stage of his career.
"I still have a lot left to do in this sport. I'm still healthy, I still love what I do, I have a great team around me, a great support system around me. I've got a mouth to feed at home so there's plenty going into the positive column for me in this next move," said Fitch.
When Fitch left the UFC he was just a few months away from celebrating eight years with the promotion. During that time he racked up 14 wins, a championship bout and consistently stayed near the top of the welterweight rankings.
Despite all those accolades and top-level fights, did Fitch get stuck in a rut while fighting with the UFC?
"It's definitely geared an attitude change in me. Maybe I was getting complacent before, a little bit. All around I think this is going to work out the best for my career," Fitch stated about his exit from the UFC.
The next stage of Fitch's career kicks off in June when he headlines the third-ever World Series of Fight card that's expected to take place in Las Vegas. Fitch hopes to fight at least three or four times by the end of the year, and he's excited that World Series of Fighting will keep him busy.
As far as the UFC goes, White said weeks ago that Fitch could definitely earn his way back to the promotion with the right kind of resume outside the Octagon, but the former Purdue wrestler isn't even thinking about that avenue. Fitch is a World Series of Fighting fighter, and that's who he's loyal to now.
"Right now I don't even have to worry about (the UFC) because I've got a nice contract, a four-fight deal, and I'll be there for at least a year, maybe more," said Fitch. "So I don't have to worry about that for at least a year."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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