Tito Ortiz Talks Neck Surgery, Comeback and Still Wanting to Fight Chuck Liddell

Breaking his silence about his neck injury, withdrawing from his fight with Chuck Liddell and being replaced on The Ultimate Fighter, Tito Ortiz said he plans to be back in the cage around October or November, and hopes to return against Liddell.

Speaking on Spike's Inside the Ultimate Fighter podcast, Ortiz said he will actually be rooting for Liddell in his UFC 115 bout this weekend against Rich Franklin, but said win or lose, Liddell should have to face him later this year.

"I think we should still fight, just because of the s--- he's been saying. Saying that I'm afraid of him and I'm a p----, this and that. Go f--- yourself man. Are you kidding me? Has he ever defended his world title longer than me? No. Has any light-heavyweight ever defended the world title longer than me? No. I'm only 35 years old. I'll be back in the cage again, and I'll be dominating."



Share
In an interview with MMA Fighting last week, Liddell accused Ortiz of signing up for TUF only as a promotional outlet for his Punishment Athletics brand, and said he believed Ortiz never planned on going through with the fight.

Asked to respond to Liddell's accusations, Ortiz said that he originally agreed to do the show even before he fought Forrest Griffin at UFC 106, and even after suffering numbness and other physical pain from a neck injury following the Griffin fight, he still thought he would be able to complete the season and fight Liddell until two doctors -- including a UFC-approved doctor -- told him otherwise.

"There was a disc and two bone spurs pressing on my spinal cord," he said. "If anyone's had spinal cord problems or disc injuries in their neck, they'd understand what I went through."

Despite it being the second major surgery in 18 months (he also underwent back surgery in Oct. 2008), Ortiz said he never harbored any thoughts of retirement, and believes that with physical issues in the rearview mirror, he can still be a factor in the light-heavyweight division despite not winning a UFC match since 2006. Citing his close fights with former champs Griffin and Rashad Evans, Ortiz said that at 100 percent, he believes he is capable of beating anyone in his weight class.

"Me with my mind focused, being in the gym everyday and being the strong, ferocious, ground-and-pound artist I am, when I get back in the cage, you'll see Tito Ortiz is back," he said.

Ortiz, who also spoke about his time coaching the TUF contestants and who the best long-term prospects were, left one major surprise.

"Hopefully Chuck will get a knockout in the first round," he said. "Yes, I am rooting for Chuck to win."

Editor's note: MMAFighting.com's Mike Chiappetta is the host of Spike's Inside The Ultimate Fighter. New episodes are available every Wednesday night on iTunes at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter.)
.fanhouseButton {margin:2em 0;} .fanhouseButton a:link, .fanhouseButton a:visited, .fanhouseButton a:hover, .fanhouseButton a:active {background-color:#dd2829;color:#FFFFFF;font-size:18px;padding:0.3em 0.6em;text-decoration:none;} .fanhouseButton a:hover {background-color:#000000;}

More from MMA Fighting

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MMA Fighting

You must be a member of MMA Fighting to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMA Fighting. You should read them.

Join MMA Fighting

You must be a member of MMA Fighting to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMA Fighting. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker