Before his last trip to the Octagon, former welterweight title contender Jon Fitch said that his priorities about fighting had changed over the last year of his life.
Forced to deal with a painful set of injuries and an even bigger, ever mounting pile of bills, Fitch fought Johny Hendricks when he probably shouldn't have, and despite the loss, he still says he has no regrets because the paycheck fed his family and that's all that really mattered.
When he returned late last year, a new Jon Fitch emerged.
For years, Fitch answered questions about earning another title shot, and why he could put together a huge winning streak and still not land on the contender's radar at 170 pounds. Following the loss to Hendricks, however, Fitch just got to be a fighter again and faced Brazilian Erick Silva in what turned out to be the “Fight of the Night” at UFC 153.
It was like a breath of fresh air for Fitch, and as he heads into his next bout at UFC 156 against grappling wizard Demian Maia, he once again has his sights set on what's really important in his life – providing for his wife and child and putting a roof over their heads.
“My perspective and my goals are kind of the same from the last fight,” Fitch told MMAWeekly Radio. “I need to provide for my family. I need to take care of them. I think I've become more focused, and focusing on a single opponent, and the single fight in front of me, instead of worrying too much about what's going on outside of that fight.”
Fitch has no problem admitting that in the past there were a lot of distractions as he got ready to fight that had nothing to do with the opponent in front of him. Whether it was title shot talk or top ten discussions or feeling like he was being snubbed by the UFC, Fitch says there were just too many other things clouding his mind like a haze.
Now the fog has lifted and he's single-minded of purpose.
“Especially for those couple of years, I think I was distracted by what was going on outside of my fight, instead of focusing on that one single fight,” said Fitch.
Now Fitch is just about going out, putting on the best fight possible, and he'll let the chips fall where they may. The harsh reality of the MMA business world have taught Fitch an awful lot, and now he knows what he needs to do to be successful as a husband, father and fighter.
“I kind of caught my second breath, and I've learned a lot over the years and I know what I need to do, and what needed to be done to win these fights. What needed to be done to win these fights in the manner that I know I can,” said Fitch.
The new attitude earned Fitch a bonus in his last fight as he just went out and enjoyed fighting again. He will look to do the same thing when he faces Demian Maia at UFC 156 this weekend.