According to Brazilian MMA news outlet Tatame.com, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz will be granted at least one more shot in the promotion he helped make famous. Following a unanimous decision loss to former pupil Matt Hamill late last month, many (inlcuding UFC President Dana White) predicted the end for Ortiz, who is 0-4-1 in his last five with his last win coming against Ken Shamrock in 2006. But according to Tatame, Ortiz will likely be returning to the Octagon against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira sometime in 2011.
Speaking with Tatame, Nogueira revealed that he has heard little of the match up and that who he faces next may not reflect the rumors.
“I’ve heard some rumors of this fight, but there’s nothing signed,” said Nogueira. “In my last fight they said about (Quinton) Rampage and they changed to Ryan Bader.”
“Minotoro” Nogueira is a MMA veteran with an overall record of 19-4 with notable wins over Kazushi Sakuraba, Alistair Overeem (twice), Dan Henderson, Vladimir Matyushenko and Luis Cane. Nogueira made his UFC debut in November of 2009, where he knocked out Cane in spectacular fashion. His Octagon career has been rocky since, having posted a split-decision victory over late-replacement Jason Brilz in a fight that could have (and many believe should have) gone in Brilz’s favor and having recently lost a competitive unanimous decision to Ryan Bader. Having engaged in a memorable and competitive 2005 war with current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua, Nogueira seems to need only a few big wins before being back in consideration for a title shot.
Once one of the the most dominant light heavyweights competing, the last few years for Tito Ortiz have been marked more by injuries and lackluster performances than his once-famed ground and pound assaults. Ortiz as only lost to top competition however, with Matt Hamill representing the only non-former champion by which Ortiz was defeated. Regardless, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is on thin ice in the UFC and one more loss could see one of the promotion’s most recognizable faces cut from the roster.
UPDATE: During a recent Q&A session for UFC 122, White confirmed the Ortiz-Nogueira match up as going down in March of 2011.
What do you think of a potential match up between Ortiz and “Little Nog?” Is Ortiz no longer a factor in the light heavyweight division or is he simply a few good wins away from resurgence? Let us know what you think in the comments section.