It’s been over a year since former UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz has fought. He’s about to put an end to his hiatus at UFC 106 against Hall of Famer Mark Coleman and he wants to make sure you are ready, because he certainly is.
“You don’t know how I excited I am for this fight,” Ortiz recently stated. “It’s my comeback fight. It’s Mark Coleman, former world heavyweight champion. If you guys pay close attention, when I beat Evan Tanner (in 2001), and after I slammed [him] on his head, I jumped up on the octagon. And I flexed to the audience.
“Mark Coleman jumped up on the side of the cage, and you could see the disgust on his face. So I think Mark Coleman has had a little hatred for me for a while … Now he gets his chance.”
The fight marks the official Octagon return for “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” and will be his first bout since dropping a unanimous decision to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 in May 2008.
Ortiz has compiled a 14-6-1 professional record over his 12-year mixed martial arts career, all of which were spent with the UFC. Although his Octagon accomplishments are many, they pale in comparison to the controversy that he constantly generated outside of it.
“Tito Ortiz is still a guy fans want to see fight,” UFC president Dana White said of Ortiz. “He’s ready to compete at 205 pounds. A lot of people love him, and a lot of people love to hate him. He’s back. Tito and I set all our differences aside. Tito Ortiz will retire in the UFC.”
Although the 34-year-old remains one of the sports most imposing figures, it should be noted that he has gone 0-2-1 over his last three contests. And it could be argued that he hasn’t won a “big” fight since he took a split decision from Forrest Griffin at UFC 59 in April of 2006.
Coleman has compiled a 16-9 pro mark over his Hall of Fame career, and like Tito, was once a UFC champion. He holds a 7-4 record inside the Octagon, including his unanimous decision victory at UFC 100, where “The Hammer” managed to turn back the hands of time and dominate a much younger Stephan Bonnar en route to a landslide win.
The victory was Coleman’s first since his controversial victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at Pride 31 back in February of 2006. In that fight, Coleman was trying to take the red-hot Brazilian down, however Shogun broke his arm when he tried to plant it on the mat to ease his fall.
A melee ensued between Shogun’s Chute Boxe teammates, including then Pride 205-pound king Wanderlei Silva, and the Americans, with Phil Baroni leading the charge.
This contest will serve as the night’s co-main event on November 21st inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar will be defending his strap against Shane Carwin in the evening’s featured match.