Isn’t it odd that the spotlight always seems to be on Tito Ortiz even when he’s not actively fighting? That’s not by accident as he’s become more known for his mouth than his mettle of late, however he’s ready to put his battle fatigues back on as he stares Father Time dead in the eyes.
With the best years of his MMA career likely behind him, the 34-year-old has taken drastic steps to ensure he returns to his once-dominant form. It also helps that he’s pain free for the first time in years.
“It feels nice to train with no soreness,” Ortiz said of his newly repaired back. “I feel better than ever. There is no pain whatsoever and you are going to be seeing the Tito Ortiz of old once I get back in the Octagon again.”
Ortiz’ UFC contract expired the second he lost to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 in May of 2008, at which point nobody ever thought he would be back fighting in the Octagon again.
“I have learned that you can never say ‘never’ in this world, especially in the business world,” Ortiz said of rejoining the only organization he’s ever called home. “The UFC was the best fit for me and this is where I want to end my career, right where it started.”
But don’t think that he’s planning on hanging up his MMA gloves anytime soon. In fact, Ortiz has turned up his relentless training multiple notches, even acquiring the assistance of one of boxing’s greatest trainers in Freddie Roach.
“He’s a hard worker,” Roach said of Ortiz’ work ethic. “The first time I did that 30-minute drill with Oscar De La Hoya, he only made it two. Tito finished, so I was happy about that.”
Ortiz will be taking on Forrest Griffin at UFC 106 on November 21st in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will mark the controversial fighters first fight in almost 18 months.
If this is indeed going to be his last run at a light heavyweight title, he definitely needs to post a win here considering he’s gone 0-2-1 over his last three scraps, and hasn’t scored a significant W in a few years.