Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz is set to make his long awaited return to the Octagon this Saturday night at UFC 106 against a man he has already fought and beaten, Forrest Griffin. Though it was a controversial decision, Ortiz says that when he beat Griffin back at UFC 59, he did so at 60%. The well-documented back injury that, along with his contract dispute with the UFC, put his fighting career on hold is now completely healed. Ortiz is ready to reclaim what he feels is rightfully his, the light heavyweight championship belt. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” recently spoke with Heavy.com about his return to the cage, Forrest Griffin, and how it feels to be back with the organization where he first made a name for himself.
“People are gonna get the same Tito Ortiz,” Ortiz stated on what fans should expect this Saturday. “I’m gonna put on a show, and it’s gonna come at the expense of Forrest Griffin. I’m excited to show people what I got. I want to get my title back.”
Ortiz feels that though it’s been a couple years since they last fought, not much has changed with Griffin.
“I look at the last couple of guys that Forrest lost to. Rashad Evans, I thought I beat Rashad, and Forrest lost to him. Anderson Silva is another guy that Forrest lost to. I would like to get in there with Anderson. That would be pretty good. Maybe sometime in the future. I still have to get a little bit of the ring rust off.
“I don’t see anything different in Forrest Griffin,” he continued. “I see the same weaknesses that he had. He doesn’t punch hard. When we fought the first time, he didn’t punch hard. I’ve come to realize that he doesn’t have much weight on his punches. He’s a lot slower now. I mean, he’s a lot slower. I just realized how much slower he’s gotten.”
Tito later added that he expects Forrest to have the same game plan that he had in their first fight and that though this is a rematch, he isn’t approaching it like one.
“Forrest is going to come out like he always does; rough and tough for the first two and half minutes, but he’ll dwindle after that,” he noted. “And I’m gonna try to expose him. Before he knows it, he’s going to be on his back eating punches and elbows. He’ll be eating an elbow sandwich.
“I don’t look at this fight as a rematch. I look at it as the first fight. I’m gonna try to hurt him, just do what I do best, that’s punishment.”
When he was asked what it was like being a free agent, Tito said what we all were thinking. It was just a ploy.
“Talking to all the other promotions was a negotiation tactic on my part,” Ortiz admitted. “I never wanted to fight anywhere else. If you want to fight against the best guys in the world, you fight in the UFC. If you fight anywhere else, you’re fighting against second-rate guys. And I never wanted that, I wanted to give my fans the best fights possible, and the UFC is where those fights are at.
“I had to stand my ground, and I won. I raised the bar for all the other fighters. They don’t know it yet, but I did. I’m very thankful for how forgiving Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta are, and I’m thankful to Dana for being a man of his word. It’s nice to be back in the UFC machine.”
Tito Ortiz will get a chance to show his fans and the rest of the MMA world that he’s back and better than ever this Saturday night when he faces Forrest Griffin in the main event of UFC 106 from The Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, NV.