Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz was forced to pull out of his scheduled UFC Fight Night 24 main event bout against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira after suffering a cut in training which required 22 stitches to repair. The oft-injured Ortiz has no shortage of opponents to choose from for his return bout though, as several fighters have called him out and he has cultivated a slight feud with former opponent Forrest Griffin. In a recent conversation with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” discussed his timetable for return and picked an opponent from his growing list of challengers that he would most like to face.
“Hopefully in May or June,” Ortiz said of his return to the Octagon. “It’s up to Dana and the UFC to let the fight happen. I know people want to see me fight again, so let’s do a Forrest-Ortiz 3. He’s a former world champion, our last two fights have been awesome – so let’s just put on a 3.”
Griffin and Ortiz engaged in a brief Twitter feud recently, which seemingly failed in getting too many people excited to see their rubber match (Griffin and Ortiz have fought twice, splitting the outcomes); still, Ortiz believes the bout carries intrigue and hopes that the fans will clamor to see that fight.
“Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise – maybe he’s just looking for a (butt) whooping,” he said. “Our last two fights were great fights. They were close. The last one I thought I won, but they gave it to him. So let’s just make the third time better than the last two. I guess the fans will speak loudest, so let’s make the fans make some noise.”
As for the list of fighters who have been calling him out–which includes Igor Pokrajac and Ryan Bader–Ortiz said that Griffin resides at the top of his list and that everyone else can wait in line.
“Take a ticket and wait in line,” Ortiz said. “I don’t know – they want to have their name associated with me? No one else is worthwhile? I don’t know why people do it. They want to be famous? I guess me being as infamous as I am, these guys can get on me and the only way for them to be recognized is to fight a big name like me. I think it’s cool. I think it’s funny. Take your ticket and wait in line, and Forrest – I’ll give you the No. 1 ticket.”