When Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” claims that he’s one of the last holdouts of an entire generation of MMA fighters, he’s telling the truth.
Ortiz, who was the UFC light heavyweight champion from 1999 until 2003, is a throwback to the era when MMA had just grown beyond single-discipline, style vs. style match ups and began to pit truly talented athletes of varied backgrounds against one another.
Last weekend, Ortiz watched on as two of his peers from that time met in the cage in a sort of throwback superfight in the main event of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. In his recent blog for ESPN.com, Ortiz analyzed the aftermath of the epic battle between Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson.
“I also watched the Fedor Emelianenko-Dan Henderson fight. I am not a huge supporter or anything, but it was hard to see someone like Fedor basically retire himself like that,” posted the 36-year-old. “He’s been finished in his last three fights and it is never good seeing any fighter who has been around for a long time finish on his face.
“He’s not one of the greatest ever; he did great in Pride but he chose not to come to the UFC and he never fought in the UFC. You can’t be considered one of the best — much less the greatest ever — if you didn’t fight in the UFC. Pride isn’t the UFC and the places he’s been since Pride aren’t the UFC. Everyone who came from Pride to the UFC got stomped.
“But that’s not to take away from Dan Henderson. Henderson is one of the best light heavyweights out there. He’s survived at the top of the food chain for a long time and that’s a fight I’d be very interested in. I’ve said I’m the last of the Mohicans lately but I guess Hendo is a Mohican too and it would be a great fight for me in the future.”
Ortiz is himself currently enjoying a late-career resurgence, having recently snapped a five-fight winless streak by emphatically defeating young contender Ryan Bader at UFC 132. Now, The Huntington Beach Bad Boy will look to keep the ball rolling when he steps up to face Rashad Evans at UFC 133 this weekend. Don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com this Saturday night for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.