The often-rocky relationship between UFC President Dana White and Tito Ortiz seems to be smooth once again.
After shocking the MMA world at UFC 132 by defeating Ryan Bader via first-round submission, Ortiz proved that he still had what it took to compete at an elite level in the UFC. White admitted in a recent interview with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that he was “blown away” by Ortiz’s first victory since 2006.
“I’m totally impressed with Tito,” said White. “I’m blown away that he beat Ryan Bader the way that he did.”
The praise didn’t end there. White also gave Ortiz credit for stepping up to face Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 133 after Phil Davis was forced to pull out of the fight due to injury.
“I’m even more impressed that Tito stepped up and took this fight [against Evans] the way that he did,” White admitted.
White and Ortiz have had a famously turbulent relationship over the years, including having a public disagreement prior to UFC 132. However, on this occasion, White only had positive things to say about the “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.”
“Right now I think that Tito probably has more fans and more people positive about him than he has had since 2003.”
Ortiz will face Evans in the main event of UFC 133 on August 6th from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.