It was announced earlier this week that Tito Ortiz will be the ninth inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame and that the ceremony would coincide with his farewell fight at UFC 148. His final bout will be against Forrest Griffin, a fighter he has faced twice before in his career: winning once and losing once.
In an interview with UFC Central host, Joe Ferraro, Ortiz said that regardless of the outcome; fans will see a thrilling fight: “Forrest is a tough guy. I think is going to be an exciting fight. Of course UFC 148, one of the biggest cards of the year and I’m very proud to be on it and it’s my last fight so I hope everybody tunes in and I’m going to show my heart on my sleeve 100%.”
In an interview with revealed that he has been training under Jason Parillo, BJ Penn‘s trainer, in Big Bear, California, and says that Parillo has helped Ortiz’s mental game by leaps and bounds: “Jason brings out a different level for me. Since last year I’ve changed everything with my whole attitude of being on the positive side. He’s just really got in my head on a psychological level that I needed I think to reinvigorate myself mentally. He’s helped me out a lot, not only as a really good friend but he really is a good trainer, someone who believes in me and tells me I can do things I know I can do. He pushes me and gets me where I need to be mentally. This game of mixed martial arts it’s pretty much 80% mental and 20% physical because I’ve been doing it for so long that my body knows what to do it’s just my mind needs to believe in the things my body knows to do.”
Additionally, Ortiz has been working-out with taller training partners such as former UFC fighter Aaron Rosa to help overcome Griffin’s height and reach advantage. Ortiz says that he is feeling great and at his best: “I feel good, I feel confident, I’m in shape. It feels good to be able to push myself for five five-minute rounds and not have any problems. For the last five weeks now I’ve been able to put in three training (sessions) a day and it’s been the first time in a year-and-a-half, almost two years I’ve been able to do that with no neck pains, with no back pains and I’m very, very thankful. Everything happens for a reason. I heard Forrest is training super hard so I know he’s in shape, so I think the fans are going to get a really, really great fight and they’re going to see the best of Tito Ortiz. I’m going to come in guns blazing and try to take Forrest out and I’m not going to hold back. I’m going to go for 15 minutes as hard as I possibly can. Fifteen minutes of 15 years of my life I’ve put into mixed martial arts and I’m going to show it on July 7.”
Although internet rumblings have been saying if Ortiz wins against Griffin, he will fight again. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”, shakes his head and puts those rumors to rest: “This is my last fight. I want it to be. I’ve been doing this for 15 years. To get up every single day and to push myself to the limit every day, I’m not that young kid anymore. I want to make a different chapter of my life of using my brain now instead of my brawn.”
Listen to the interview in its entirety: