The spotlight seems to be on Tito Ortiz now more than ever. The 34-year-old former UFC light heavyweight champion 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’s prior UFC contract had expired the second he lost to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 in May of 2008, at which point nobody thought he would fight 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’s work ethic. “The first time I did that 30-minute drill with Oscar De La Hoya, he only made it to two. Tito finished, so I was happy about that.”
If that wasn’t enough, Ortiz also said the is planning to reach out to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to help him prepare for his return fight, which will probably be a bout against former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman in November.
Despite the glaring age gap between the two, Ortiz does not anticipate an easy fight, especially after Coleman’s warrior-like performance at UFC 100, where he dominated a much-younger Stephan Bonnar to a unanimous decision victory.
“I respect him a lot,” Ortiz stated with a grin. “I think this fight will have a lot more personal vendetta behind it the closer the fight comes.”
Come on now. If there wasn’t some bad blood heading into a Tito Ortiz fight then something is definitely wrong. Look for “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” to stir the pot like only he can, just in time for the holidays.