MMA pioneer and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz is going to attempt to right his record this weekend at UFC 121 when he takes on former student Matt Hamill on the main card of UFC 121 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Ortiz is 0-3-1 in his last four and he has claimed injury as the reason for defeat more than once; the Californian has undergone experimental surgery on both his back and his neck in the past year and assures everyone that he is 100% for his upcoming fight against Hamill. Ortiz spoke with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani this week during the pre-fight press rounds and did his best to prove his injury-freeness in addition to revealing his motivation to continue competing after already constructing a storied career.
“Last fight, I had sunglasses on. Huh, no sunglasses on,” Ortiz said when asked how fans can be sure that his body is fully ready to fight. He accompanied the query with a full physical display of his mobility while saying, “I’m able to move my neck with no problems. Last time I couldn’t move my neck. I can bend over with no problems. There’s nothing wrong with me at all. There’s nothing wrong with me at all. Knees, everything–for once, I have no problems at all.”
Ortiz began his career in the UFC, first competing at UFC 13 in 1997. He has gone on to hold the UFC 205-pound title over five defenses and has tested himself against many of the best light-heavyweight fighters in the world. Helwani asked Ortiz what his motivation was to continue competing in MMA after suffering so many injuries and Ortiz responded by pointing to Randy “The Natural” Couture’s legendary career as evidence that his best days could be yet to come.
“I’m young, man. I’m 35-years old, I still got a lot more. Randy Couture started his career at 34. I still see a bright future for me. I’m [hungry], the hunger is what’s keeping me at it. My fans are what’s keeping me at it. If it wasn’t for my fans I wouldn’t be doing this and my family, of course.”