Josh Burkman Staying Loyal to World Series of Fighting, Not Returning to UFC

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Josh Burkman Staying Loyal to World Series of Fighting, Not Returning to UFC
photo courtesy of MMAWeekly.com

It took Josh Burkman just 41 seconds to not only beat former UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch, but to pull off one of the quickest and nastiest walk-off submissions that has ever been done in MMA history.

Burkman rushed forward following a quick punch that stunned his opponent, and when the opening came for a guillotine choke, he grabbed onto Fitch's neck like a vice grip before falling to the mat. Fitch was unconscious seconds later, as Burkman rolled him over and stood proud over his fallen prey.

It was a huge win for the former Ultimate Fighter season two veteran, improving his record in World Series of Fighting to a perfect 3-0—two of those victories coming in the first round.

Following the fight, the natural question that came up to Burkman was about a possible return to the UFC, where he spent a big chunk of his career from 2005 to 2008.

Burkman was quite vocal during his time away from the promotion that he was working towards a return to the UFC and wanted to prove, after a multitude of mounting injuries kept him from fighting healthy for several years, that he could still compete against the best of the best in the welterweight division.

But with a new promotion pushing him towards a title shot in 2013, Burkman is happy right where he's at, even if the UFC comes calling.

"I have a great relationship with Dana White, and my goal originally was to go back to the UFC, but when World Series of Fighting called me and said 'hey Josh this is who we are, this is what we're doing,'  I had a really good feeling about them and where it could take me," Burkman recently told MMA's Great Debate Radio on Bleacher Report.  "I believe I have a really unique situation with World Series of Fighting. On NBC Sports, free TV, and I've said before that I wanted to be a featured fighter and I think now I've earned that spot."

Burkman's next fight for the promotion will be for the first ever World Series of Fighting welterweight belt later this year. He also knows he made a commitment to the organization when he signed his contract last year, and Burkman is nothing if not a man of his word.

"I have three fights left on my contract and I'm not going to try to get out of my contract. I'm going to fulfill my contract," Burkman said.  "We'll see what happens from there."

Loyalty in MMA sometimes comes down to the right paycheck, but Burkman felt gratitude when World Series of Fighting invested in making him one of the marquee names on their roster a year ago.

That doesn't mean the door is closed to a potential UFC return after the fights on Burkman's contract are finished.  If Burkman can win those final three fights on his current deal, he would be an enticing addition to the UFC's welterweight division in 2014.

Burkman isn't looking that far ahead right now. He's got to take some time off to heal an ailing hand—after hurting it during the fight with Fitch—and prepare for a title shot later this year.

"I hurt my hand against Aaron Simpson. I re-injured it against Fitch so I've got to go see the orthopedist this week.  Probably be about six to eight weeks, so I need the time off anyways," Burkman said.  "I believe with them behind me, and me behind them, we're going to make World Series of Fighting one of the top organizations in the world."

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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