Tito Ortiz joined Rashad Evans for the UFC 133 media conference call and answered questions on a variety of topics.
“I just can’t wait to go back to the East Coast and fight for all of my fans, and especially in Philly… I’m very, very excited. Rashad’s a tough opponent. A number one contender. I want to go out there with my heart and soul, and do what I do, and get my hand raised.”
When asked about taking the fight after initially turning it down, Ortiz said he was great physically, so he spoke with his family, and while he first thought there were too many business obligations required of him back home, he agreed to the bout. “The fighter in me kind of doubted and was like, ‘maybe I should fight.’ I’m in great shape. I never got touched. Sparring’s been great. My wrestling’s been really good. I’m strong. I have no injuries. My back and neck have been awesome.” He went on. “I kind of just sat down and said, ‘you know what? I’ll do this.’ Here’s my opportunity I might never have again. Dana asked me to help them out. They could use my help. I want to show them I’m a business man for them, and I stepped up.”
Tito was asked about his feelings toward the first fight, and what will be different come fight night. “I think it’s a lot different on both sides. Rashad’s matured as a fighter a lot. He got a lot better. From the last fight to his last fight against Rampage, his shots are a lot better, and he’s a lot faster. I’ve gotten a lot better. My boxing skills of course, and my wrestling takedowns. I’ve gotten stronger with not having injuries anymore.”
About fighting in Philadelphia, Tito talked about his longtime appreciation for the film Rocky. “I’ve always been a huge Rocky fan. In my gym, actually, where guys box there’s a Rocky picture. Does everything really happen in life for a reason? And to answer that question, I’ve totally been training. I feel great about my training partners. It’s one of those things where I think Philly will feed that much more emotion into me. I’m very thankful for it, and I think that’s one more reason I did take the fight… Against Rashad, that’s one of the best guys in the world right now, and I think I’m capable, and I know I’m capable of doing it in Philly.”
Ortiz stunned the MMA world earlier this month after finishing Ryan Bader at 1:47 into the first round. Ortiz caught Bader with a sway and lunging punch, and he followed Bader to the mat and finished him with a guillotine choke. Ortiz had been winless for nearly 5 years, and the UFC had publicly stated Tito’s job with the promotion was on the line. He beat Ryan Bader, and when the dust had barely settled, he got the call from UFC President Dana White to fill in for the injured Phil Davis at UFC 133 on August 6.
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