It has been almost a year since former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz last fought, a submission loss to Bellator light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary at Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 in September. After that fight, Ortiz had to have surgery to have vertebrae fused in his neck and has since been rehabbing and recovering. Now however, Ortiz is back to training and ready to return to the cage, and he's tossing around some big names for his return.
Speaking with FightHub TV recently, Ortiz posited Royce Gracie, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and Fedor Emelianenko as possible return opponents.
"I respect Royce so much, that's the only reason I would want to compete against him. It's nothing bad against him. I really, really like the guy but I just think his name is such a huge name, it'd make sense for my last fight but he don't want to do it. I guess I don't want to do it either, so let's make an interesting fight. Let's see if Fedor can get down to 205. Rampage. Rampage kind of talked smack his last fight saying that he'll fight me no matter what. Okay, let it be. Let's see him get down to 205."
Jackson and Ortiz have previously discussed the possibility of fighting one another with Ortiz saying he would rather not since they are friends. However, Rampage vocalized being willing to fight Ortiz so now it appears that Ortiz is willing to set friendship aside for the moment. But he does have one condition.
"I'm a 205 lb. fighter, been my whole career, 19 years and I'm not going anywhere. No reason to give anybody a little extra. I understand my levels of how I like to compete and at 205 that's where I'm super fast. I'm a workhorse and that's my weight. So Rampage or Fedor or whoever they have else to fight me at 205, I don't care."
The insistence of fighting at light heavyweight may be a bit of a hang up though. Rampage's last fight was a split decision victory over Satoshi Ishii in a heavyweight bout in June and he has said that he no longer is able to make the cut to 205 lbs. Emelianenko is, of course, a legend in heavyweight MMA and has never made the cut to 205 lbs. before. It is very possible he may not be able to do so. But Ortiz, 41, is reluctant to risk his health against a bigger man.
"Like I said, I'm a light heavyweight. I understand my limits. I'm not going to go out there just to fight for money and to put on a show for people at the risk of my own health. I won't do that. I know my limits, as I say, and I'm a 205 lb. light heavyweight. I walk around 220, 225, right now. Fedor's a big cat. I did a press junket with him in England and God, he's about 6' 1" and a good 245, 240. He's a big cat. Like I said, I know my limits. I respect the guy but at the same time, if he makes 205, let the beatings begin."
Of course, Emelianenko doesn't have any real incentive to make his first weight cut ever at the age of 39 so it is exceedingly unlikely that would happen. When asked about the potential of a catchweight fight with Emelianenko, Ortiz said that it was, "possible" but that he is also lacks the incentive to take a risk like that.
"I think it's just the weight. That's the only thing stopping me. I'm getting paid the same amount of money no matter what, don't matter who it is. Don't matter if it's some nobody on the street - which I would never do - but still. Bellator have really given us our own constructive criticism about our own careers so it's really lucky to have that and to give us the decisions of who we're going to fight, when we're going to fight, and give us the opportunity to fight the people we wanna fight."
As for when Ortiz will be back, he says he is just waiting for Bellator President Scott Coker to tell him when and where but that he hopes it will be before the end of the year.
"Before the year is over. Maybe next couple of months. I'm just waiting on Scott Coker and making the right decision. I'm a business guy and I'm part of the business. Whenever they want me to fight, I'm getting ready now so I'll be in shape to fight... The business side is already etched out to everything I want to do in my contract. Right now it's just what the fans want, what they want to see."
You can watch the full interview below where he also has some comments on the recent unionization effort of UFC fighters.
Ouch. UFC on Fox 21 does record low numbers.
Fitting. Royce Gracie thinks Demian Maia will break his record of 10 submission victories in the UFC.
Keep them guessing. Alistair Overeem thinks Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are lying about how much they get paid.
Robbery. Enrique Barzola is upset after his "robbery" loss to Kyle Bochniak.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Throwback. Todd Martin of Sherdog talks about why MMA needs more Demian Maia's.
If I knew nothing else about AA, I would cheer for him just because of his dog. Maximus is great.
Rory looks pretty happy here. Kinda of looking forward to Rory at middleweight too.
Does anyone have a good reason why Cyborg is cutting to 140? Just have it at 145.
Conor's house looks nice AF.
This is awesome and as far as I can tell it was done by RayRod747 on Reddit.
Oh my goodness, this Super Saiyan gif of Cowboy's 4-hit combo is the coolest thing I've seen in a while. (via r/MMA) https://t.co/8mPgDwZM9d— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) August 31, 2016
C'mon man. You're better than this.
Twins pic.twitter.com/B3YUK30Eub— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 31, 2016
Hide yo feet, hide yo ankles, hide yo knees cuz Marcin is coming... https://t.co/7Lnvum5lWg— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) August 30, 2016
DJ has to find ways to challenge himself since the TUF 24 winner sure isn't going to make him sweat.
Calling out @arielhelwani pic.twitter.com/6GyRv1PCS2— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) August 31, 2016
And Ariel runs these here streets.
Look, kid, you're a living MMA legend, but w/ all due respect, you don't want none of this. Ask @BensonHenderson. https://t.co/9hemkzyevG— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 31, 2016
our paths might cross one day but training with this veteran has been a pleasure pic.twitter.com/HgQLPqYUAD— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) August 30, 2016
R.I.P. https://t.co/7FFa1affpT— The Spartan (@EliasTheodorou) August 30, 2016
Mark Henry firing shots here. Kavanagh took the high road and says he won't talk trash though.
@coach_kavanagh for a jiu jitsu coach who can't even teach his student @thenotoriousmma how to tie his belt and just got subbed quick you have a lot to say. PS give the proceeds of your book to the striking coach he deserves it. #ShutUp #ItTakesaTeam #IrishEdmund #CherryPicker #NeverFightsWretlers #JumpingTheLine
Derrick Lewis better watch out. Teruto is coming for that social media throne.
Kenya Miranda (2-2-0) vs. Emily Ducote (3-1-0); Bellator 161, September 16.
Mark Dickman (11-2-0) vs. Daniel Pineda (21-12-0); Bellator 161, September 16.
Gregory Babene (17-11-0) vs. Francisco France (13-4-1); Bellator 161, September 16.
Tiffany Van Soest (0-1-0) vs. Kalyn Schwartz (0-0-0); Invicta FC 19, September 23.
Jason High (20-5-0) vs. Joao Zeferino (20-8-0); WSOF 33, October 7.
John Howard (24-12-0) vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov (12-1-0); WSOF 33, October 7.
Shawn Jordan (18-7-0) vs. Ashley Gooch; WSOF 33, October 7.
Cole Miller (21-10-0) vs. Mizuto Hirota (17-7-2); UFC Fight Night 97, October 15.
Seo Hee Ham (16-7-0) vs. Danielle Taylor (7-2-0); UFC Fight Night 97, October 15.
Shinya Aoki (39-6-0) vs. Eduard Folayang (16-5-0); One Championship: Defending Honor, November 11.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2003: At Pancrase: 10th Anniversary Show, Josh Barnett submitted Yuki Kondo with a rear-naked choke to become theOpenweight King of Pancrase.
2012: Andrei Arlovski and Tim sylvia fought for a 4th time at ONE FC 5, this time resulting in a No Contest when Arlovski knocked sylvia down and then soccer kicked him against the organization's "open attack" rule. At the time, the rule stated that soccer kicks were legal upon the prompting of the referee declaring "open attack." Arlovski kicked Sylvia before this occurred resulting in the No Contest but as a result of this fight, ONE FC abandoned the open attack rule and adopted full Pride rules shortly afterwards.
2013: Anthony Pettis became the UFC lightweight champion after he submitted Benson Henderson at UFC 164. This event also saw the return to the octagon of former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett after an 11 year absence. He stopped Frank Mir with knees in the first round.
Also on this day in 2013, the inaugural Deep Jewels card was held wherein the Jewels brand officially ceased independent operations and folded into Deep.
Can't blame Tito for his stance here. If he's not getting any extra money no real reason to risk his personal health for a fight with Fedor. Still, it ain't the best look to want to fight an ancient Royce Gracie he outweighs by at least 20 lbs. but not want to fight Fedor who probably only has about 10 lbs. on him.
That's all for today folks. Have a good one.
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