It’s been a long time coming, but former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will finally get a chance to fight for another title on Saturday night, albeit this time in the Bellator cage, and the veteran star envisages winning the title could give him a whole new lease of life in the sport.
“Right now, the way my mindset is, no, I’m not gonna retire,” stated at a media day to promote his upcoming fight with Liam McGeary at Bellator 142: Dynamite!. “My idea is to go in and beat McGeary, fight the [Dynamite] tournament champion and beat him…whoever it is, don’t matter. With will, there’s a way. I continue to do what I’m doing. It shows every man, woman at the age of 40 that you can achieve anything.”
Ortiz will turn 41 in January of next year, by which point he’ll have been fighting professionally for almost 19 years, while by contrast his opponent McGeary is 8 years his junior and has only been a pro for five years.
McGeary is currently unbeaten with a perfect 10-0 record though, while Ortiz went through an extremely rough spell in the UFC where he registered just one victory in nine fights, but has since earned two confidence boosting wins in the Bellator cage against former middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko and fellow UFC Hall-Of-Famer Stephen Bonnar.
That last decision win over Bonnar was less than impressive, but Ortiz firmly believes he’s in a good place both mentally and physically heading into this fight with his disastrous on-again, off-again relationship with porn star Jenna Jameson now firmly in his rear-view mirror (these days he’s with former Octagon girl Amber Nichole Smith) and his injury woes, which included multiple back, neck and knee surgeries, also apparently a thing of the past.
““I’m gonna go on a run as champion, without a doubt in my mind,” Ortiz claimed. “I went through UFC with five title defenses. Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones beat my record, so I’m trying to beat his record. That’s my goal. That’s what I want to do.”
Of course we’ve heard this kind of talk many times before from Ortiz. There’s never been any lack of ambition or self-belief when it comes to ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’, but it remains to be seen whether he can actually back up his words with action at the weekend and get a championship belt strapped around his waist for the first time in no less than 13 years.