Of all the men who’ve claimed the UFC light heavyweight championship belt, Tito Ortiz held it the longest.
The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s record of most consecutive title defenses at 205lbs still stands, but is now under threat for the first time since Chuck Liddell wore the strap. Under threat by the seemingly effortless greatness of 24-year-old champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
Jones will face what many believe is his toughest test to date next Saturday in the main event of UFC 145, when he meets former champion and former training partner Rashad Evans. Familiar with being a champion and having faced Evans twice in the cage himself, Ortiz offers unique insight into the battle of rivals.
As he told MMAHeat’s Karyn Bryant:
I think Jon Jones is gonna stop him in the third round. This is gonna be the biggest fight since me and Liddell. Jon Jones is a different species. Just his length, the way he fights, his clinch game, his wrestling game, his striking game — and I think he’s gonna be a little bit too much for Rashad. When I fought Rashad, I fought a guy who was a lot stronger from the first time that we fought. He was a different type of fighter. But, I think that’s gonna make it that much more of an exciting pay-per-view to watch. That’s for sure.
UFC 145 will take place on April 21 from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Meanwhile, Ortiz is preparing for what will likely be his retirement fight, a rubber match against Forrest Griffin scheduled for UFC 148 in July.