After stepping up on short notice to fight Rashad Evans last night in the main event of UFC 133, Tito Ortiz wasn’t able to keep his recent upward momentum going, but still gave a decent account of himself.
Looking back on the fight Ortiz admits there was a brief moment when he seized a guillotine choke and thought “I got it”, believing that he may be about to pull off another upset submission win, but ‘Suga’ broke free and eventually produced a TKO victory.
Ortiz gives Evans all the credit though and reveals that he was a much tougher opponent than their last meeting back in 2007.
“Rashad was a lot stronger, a lot stronger than he was prior and he showed that you that 14 months [training] can really pay off. He took it seriously, he never lived the life of a fighter [in the past] and he lived it [this time] and it showed tonight and he was the better man. I guess it showed you can’t take on the No.1 contender with two and a half weeks of training” Ortiz told MMAheat’s Karyn Bryan backstage after the bout.
In the past Ortiz has made excuses for his losses, but on this occasion he appears to be making a conscious effort not to overplay it despite his limited time to prepare for the bout.
“I felt I was ready. My mind was saying ‘go, go, go’…my body was a little behind maybe..taking that week off in Vegas after the [Ryan] Bader fight, but I stepped up for Dana, for Zuffa. I stepped up, I fought, and I fought as hard as I possibly could. I had no injuries, everything was great, I felt strong, my timing was on. I guess you just need that little more time to fight against a No.1 contender.”
Evans appeared to catch Ortiz with some good punches before the big knee that eventually took the fight out of him, but according to the former champion he hadn’t been in any real danger up until that point.
“None of the punches really hurt me. I mean against the fence he caught me with some good punches and I kind of smiled and laughed at him and said, ‘come on, keep going.’ I mean, maybe I take a good punch – God gave me a big head to take big punches, but it was what it was.”
Despite being disappointed to have lost Ortiz still has no intention of retiring and is already talking of going back into the gym to continue improving his striking and working more on his wrestling.
He also admits it “felt great” to hear the fans cheering for him and chanting his name during the fight and he says he now wants to be “the people’s champ.”
Watch the interview in full below.