Tito Ortiz recently appeared on ESPN’s Jim Rome Is Burning to promote his fight with Rashad Evans this Saturday.
Ortiz, who has had a history of medical problems stemming from neck and back injuries, spoke about his big win over Ryan Bader last month and attributed his victory to good health.
“Being healthy was the number one cause, I think, behind all of it,” said Ortiz. “Not having any more back problems or neck problems; I’ve gotten surgery on C-6, C-7 of my neck and L4-5 S-1 in my lower back. They fused it… no more problems, no more disc pressure in my spinal cord so I’m able to get my training in. I’m able to do the things I did when I was the world champion, and now it’s another hunt back to light-heavyweight division.
“I fought a tough competitor, Ryan Bader, and beat a number five guy in the world. My back was pressed against the fence, and I fight best when my back’s pressed against the fence.”
When told that Evans was quoted calling him “lucky” in beating Bader and “lucky” to be fighting again, Ortiz responded by saying, “We’ll see who’s lucky when I beat him.”
Ortiz, never one to shy away from pre-fight trash-talking, took a different approach in responding to Evans’s criticism.
“Lucky is a big part of this game. It’s everything that I put in the aspect of the training: the mental-set, the mind-set, the physical work that I put in. I know what I need to do. I’m a former world champion. I defended the light-heavyweight title six consecutive times. No other light-heavyweight has done that before ever. I’m one of the biggest names in the sport, so all the pressure is on Rashad.
“I don’t even trash-talk anymore. People know that I come in and I fight with everything,” stated Ortiz. “A guy who talks smack like that… he’s actually talking out of fear and that fear is me.”
Ortiz seemed to be in high spirits and even spoke about the recent three-car collision involving his Rolls Royce Phantom.
“I had my son Jacob with me, and that was the number one fear I had right off the bat,” Ortiz admitted. “It struck fear in my heart, but I looked at the front of my car and I was like, ‘What did I do?’!”
Fortunately, Ortiz was unharmed in the accident and even managed to take his loss in stride.
“Cars are just materialistic things, and they can be paid for,” Ortiz noted. “But at the same time, it’s my dream car. It’s a Phantom Rolls Royce! I’ve been wanting it ever since I was in my senior year in high school. I watched Snoop Dogg rolling in them, and I was like, ‘One day I’m gonna get me one of those.’”
Ortiz will face Evans in the main event of UFC 133 this Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Don’t forget to check back here at FightLine.com tomorrow for our live coverage of the event.