A string of poor results and injury woes for former light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in recent years has lead to constant talk of him retiring, but up until now the veteran fighter himself has been resistant to the idea, insisting that he still has plenty of fight left in him.
However, in a new interview with MMAHeat’s Karyn Bryant ahead of his UFC 140 clash with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, the 36 year-old hints for the first time that he too may now be coming around to the idea of hanging up his gloves.
“Maybe it’s time [to retire], I don’t know,” Ortiz says when asked what he’ll do when his current contract, which has only one fight left after this Saturday’s bout, it’s over.
“I guess when I leave on my own terms — and I look at it as, when I don’t have fun coming in the gym anymore, sparring and pushing myself and running every day, maybe it is time. I’m not overstaying my welcome.”
Interestingly, earlier in the interview Ortiz had confessed that, “I’m not in the best shape I’ve ever been,” perhaps indicating that he is struggling to motivate himself now.
Of course, with Ortiz, who’s always quick to point out that he’s “a business man” it often comes down to money, and a little later he suggests that’s still the case.
“You never know. You never know if Dana and Lorenzo come to me with some numbers that make sense to me. I’m healthy.”
Even so, all signs point to Ortiz now leaning more towards retirement regardless of the money involved, and despite the claims that he’s healthy it appears that the thought of injuring himself again is still a primary concern.
“Is it worth it not being able to run with my kids or wrestle with my kids or throw a football with my kids when they get older? A million dollars ain’t worth it.”
Personally I think he will retire, but the question is whether he will be given the chance to go out on his own terms or not.
He wants to continue fighting until May next year which would mark his 15th year anniversary as a fighter, but if he loses on Saturday night that make his recent record a dismal 1-6-1 and Dana White could push for him to call it a day.
On the other hand, out of respect for his past accomplishements they may give him the chance to see out his contract and have one final bout in the Octagon, much as they did with Mirko Cro Cop recently.
Beyond that I really don’t see the UFC offering him a new contract beyond that so it’s a smart move for Ortiz to indicate that he’s ready to go rather than appear to be forced out the door.
Check out more from this in-depth interview below.