The Grudge Training Center fighter has his first Bellator main event on Friday night, when he meets the debuting Melvin Guillard at Pechanga Casino in Temecula, Calif.
But Girtz isn't expecting this bout to go the distance.
"I'm going to knock his ass out or I'm going to submit him," Girtz told MMAFighting.com. "This fight might not go that long. It's not like it's any big secret what Melvin likes to do."
The controversial Guillard (30-14-2, 2 NC), of course, is one of the sport's most notorious kill-or-be-killed competitors, as likely to get submitted as he is to knock his opponent cold. The prospects for an exciting fight either way are a big reason why he keeps getting contract offers as he's bounced from the UFC to World Series of Fighting and now Bellator in the span of 18 months.
Girtz (11-4), suspects as he's being set up as the B-side of the main event, the warm body to give the name fighter a big splash in his company debut. And as far as he's concerned, that's exactly how he wants it.
"I've been around the game long enough by now to know how it's played," said Girtz, who is 4-2 in a Bellator run which dates back to 2012. "Melvin's the one with the name in the business. He's the one with all the pressure and expectations. I don't care what anyone else's reasons and motivations are for putting together or accepting the fight. I just know this is the opportunity I've been waiting for and I'm going to make the most of it."
And it's not as if Girtz's opportunity has come out of nowhere. A former Division 2 wrestling All-American at Minnesota State in Mankato, Girtz wasn't an MMA fan, per se, but started training in the sport because some of his teammates had taken it up and he decided to give it a shot.
While he cleaned up on the local scene -- all of his first eight career fights were held in Minnesota, with the only loss along the way coming to Alvin Robinson -- he eventually realized he was going to have to leave his comfort zone and travel to an elite camp if he was going to make an impact in the sport.
So Girtz packed his bags and headed to Denver.
"It's been like night and day since I've been to Grudge," said Girtz. "It's hard to even explain, because it's not like there's just one area I've improved. You're training with guys who have been there before in the biggest fights and biggest events and know how to get the job done. I guess the best way I could put this is, this is where I learned to become a professional."
The results speak for themselves, as Girtz has won three out of his past four bouts, with all three victories coming by way of first-round finish.
Girtz has scored seven of his 11 career victories via submission. Guillard, of course, is notoriously susceptible to being choked out, with submission losses killing his momentum every time he seemed ready to break through to the next level in his UFC stint.
It's yet another aspect of the matchup which hasn't gone unnoticed by Girtz.
"I respect Melvin's power, but I'm not afraid to go toe-to-toe with him," Gritz said. "But if we go to the ground, that's where I know I've got the advantage. There's a long list of guys from Joe Lauzon to Jim Miller who have choked Melvin out, and that's a list I wouldn't mind becoming a part of."