UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch (25-3) had been hoping for a rematch with titleholder Georges St. Pierre or a fight with top new acquisition Jake Shields. Instead, MMAJunkie is reporting that Fitch will square off against Jake Ellenberger (23-5) at UFC 126 on February 5.
UFC President Dana White had at one point suggested the winner of the UFC 117 clash between Fitch and Thiago Alves, both former title challengers, would get a shot a St. Pierre. But after Fitch secured a lackluster decision win that didn’t wow the fans, White hinted that someone else could end up getting the opportunity.
That someone is Shields, a former EliteXC and Strikeforce champion that, even by his own admission, looked far from spectacular in grinding out a decision over Martin Kampmann at UFC 121. It appeared the weight cut to 170 hurt his cardio; Shields had previously fought at 185, defeating MMA legend Dan Henderson in his last Strikeforce appearance.
In Ellenberger, Fitch faces a dangerous young opponent, but one who isn’t in the top ten and doesn’t bring the name recognition of some of the welterweight division’s big names. Ellenberger is 2-1 in the UFC. He lost a close split decision in his Octagon debut to Carlos Condit, but has since defeated Mike Pyle and John Howard.
As for GSP, his next test will come at UFC 124, where he’ll take on rival TUF 12 coach Josh Koscheck.