Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz returns to action in December — and he’s back in a full-time role.
Ortiz returned to action last year when he won his trilogy fight with Chuck Liddell in a Golden Boy MMA event. He stated he was done fighting afterwards, only to sign a deal with Combate Americas — where he’ll face Alberto El Patron in December.
The main reason he’s back competing? He feels he has unfinished business especially after an injury-ridden career:
“I was not really into walking away [after the Chuck Liddell fight] just because I felt I still had so much more to go,” Ortiz told MMA Fighting. “I was 43 at the time, and one of my friends, Randy Couture, I had to ask him what made him come back at 43 and win the heavyweight world title in the UFC. He said, ‘Tito, I wasn’t done, I had a lot more to do,’ and that’s all I needed to hear.
“I’m healthy. You’ve got to understand from 2003 to 2014, I’ve been riddled with injuries—back and neck and knees and I’ve had four neck surgeries, a back surgery, three knee surgeries—my body is finally reacting the right way when I was champ. I feel like that. I feel better now than when I was in my 30s because I’m able to put in hard work in the gym.”
Ortiz expects to get the win over the former professional wrestler — who does have some mixed martial arts experience — and is already looking ahead.
He plans on becoming a world champion again and facing Bellator’s two-division champion Ryan Bader, who he notably beat as an underdog back at UFC 132 in 2011.
“I would like to chase after a world title after this.” Ortiz said. “I know Ryan Bader is the heavyweight world champion and the light heavyweight world champion of Bellator.
“I would like to go after that light heavyweight belt and give him a chance at redemption when I beat him back in 2011.”
But first things first — smash El Patron and put on a show on December 7:
“Right now it’s all Alberto Del Rio,” Ortiz added. “Smash him and make it look easy.”
What do you think of Ortiz’s plans?