Burkman talks first Fitch fight: ‘I didn’t tap’

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Josh Burkman and Jon Fitch fight for the second time Friday night, in the main event of World Series of Fighting 3, live on NBC Sports Network. The first time the pair fought, it was on the untelevised undercard of UFC Fight Night 4 back in 2006. They were new to the bright lights of the big show, being only Fitch’s second UFC fight, and Burkman’s third.

In an interview with MMAFighting’s Mike Chiapetta, Burkman recalls the loss as a turning point.

“I remember that I got beat up,” said Burkman. “I remember that. I had some things happen in my training camp but I don’t know that if those things didn’t happen, that the result would have been much different. Jon Fitch was a much more focused martial artist than I was at that time. That’s why he came in and had the performance that he had. I remember that fight, me just learning a lot from it. How to go about training. How to approach my career. I implemented some of that, and I didn’t implement some of it at the time.

“The other thing is at the end of the second round, I think there was two seconds left at the end of that second round and I was just putting my hand down so that I could get a little space. So I didn’t tap. I was saving my energy for the third round. So that’s kind of what I remember about it. That’s it.”

Burkman related that winning his first two victories left him overconfident.

“So I came in against Sam Morgan, and I beat Sam in like 21 seconds,” said Burkman. “And then the next fight, I fought Drew Fickett, and Drew Fickett had just beat Josh Koscheck. And he was ranked No. 10 in the world at the time. Going into that fight, I remember Joe Silva calling me up and saying ‘We’ve got a fight. His name is Jon Fitch.’ And I didn’t know who Jon Fitch was because I didn’t really follow the sport. And so I think that because of those first two victories that I had at welterweight, I probably overhyped myself. I didn’t give Jon Fitch enough credit, and gave myself too much credit. I think that’s another thing that helped me further my career. Don’t underestimate anybody. Whether you know somebody or not, it’s not about their name, it’s about how focused they are on their training. I think that was a big mistake on my part, I believed my own hype a little bit and didn’t respect Jon Fitch.”

Burkman is once again on an impressive streaks, having won six of his last seven fights, but now he knows who Jon Fitch is and what he can do – there will be no overconfidence. Do you think that will be enough to beat Fitch?