When Tito Ortiz lost to Matt Hamill at UFC 132 last year, leaving him without a win in five fights, most people believed that the former light-heavyweight champion’s long run in the UFC was finally at an end.
Surprisingly the UFC would later announce that Ortiz would be getting another fight, with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira initially pegged as his opponent, though an injury canceled that match-up and ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ now faces Ryan Bader at UFC 132 on July 2nd.
In a new interview with The Telegraph Ortiz reveals that the UFC did in fact ask him to hang up his gloves after the decision loss to Hamill.
“Dana White and Joe Silva told me they wanted me to retire, but I knew I still had the fight inside me,” Ortiz told The Telegraph’s Gareth A. Davies. “I pretty much begged for my job, to show how much I want to fight, but I still have it in my heart to compete, to fight. I told them I want to still fight against the top guys, I want to put on a show.”
Ortiz and White have had major differences in the past, but they patched things up in 2009. While from the outside looking in it doesn’t appear as if they are now the best of friends, it seems that the history between them, which dates back to when White managed him back in the 90’s before he owned the UFC, may have swayed him to give the former champion one last chance.
By no means have they thrown him a softball though, with Bader being another very tough opponent who many are backing to put an end to Ortiz’ UFC career once and for all.
Regardless, despite his long losing streak it’s clear that Ortiz still holds a strong belief in his abilities which at one stage in his career lead to him winning the 205lb belt and then defending it five times.
“I’ve just turned 36, but when they put me against the top guys, I think I can still compete,” he says.