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Tito Ortiz interested in future fights with Fedor Emelianenko, Kimbo Slice

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tito Ortiz has been retired and unretired. He's had surgery after surgery, including another neck fusion last year. The 41-year-old is currently rehabbing from that operation, but yes. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" will be back in 2016, his 19th year in pro mixed martial arts.

"I'm a machine, man," Ortiz told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. "I'll be good. I'll be good in about a month. I'll fight this year, 100 percent."

Ortiz (18-12-1) has not fought since falling via first-round submission to Bellator light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary at Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 back in September. Becoming a champion again was his prime goal, but now he has adjusted. Ortiz is interested from here in giving fans fights they want to see.

That could mean big-name matchups in either Bellator or Rizin, Ortiz said, depending on "what [Bellator president] Scott Coker wants to do." A fight with legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko would be highly anticipated and Ortiz said he would be interested. He just would not want to fight Emelianenko his first bout back from surgery.

"I won't take Fedor my first fight," Ortiz said. "I'm coming off an injury, you know. I want a warm-up first. Let's do a warm-up first and let's make it a big warm-up, so that everybody wants to watch it."

Emelianenko came out of retirement after three years to defeat Jaideep Singh in the main event of the inaugural Rizin Fighting Federation card on New Year's Eve.

If not him, then who would Ortiz like next? How about Kimbo Slice?

"That's a pretty damn good name," Ortiz said with a laugh.

Slice is already booked. He meets longtime streetfighting rival Dada 5000 in the co-main event of Bellator 149 on Feb. 19 in Houston. But it sounds like Ortiz won't be ready for another few months anyway. A bout between Ortiz and Slice would be one of the biggest ones Bellator can put on. The two men have headlined the two highest rated cards in Bellator history -- Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar at Bellator 131 and Slice vs. Ken Shamrock at Bellator 138.

Regardless of opponent, Ortiz said he'll be ready to go before too long. He's nearing his third decade in the sport, but still loving the fight game.

"One more month of rehab and then training," said Ortiz, a UFC Hall of Famer and former longtime UFC light heavyweight champion. "I had bone spurs removed. The pain is gone. I'll be good to go."