Tito Ortiz was admittedly surprised when he got a call from Combate Americas with an offer to fight former WWE superstar Alberto “El Patron” Rodriguez.
Best known by his professional wrestling moniker Alberto Del Rio, the 42-year-old Mexican-born performer had competed in mixed martial arts previously but his last bout came all the way back in 2010 in a losing effort at a show in Spain.
Since that time, “El Patron” had stayed focused on his professional wrestling career as well as taking a job behind the scenes with Combate Americas as the fledgling Latin based promotion started to get off the ground.
“El Patron” has explained that a return to fighting happened in large part because he wanted to give back to the organization that stuck by his side during a tumultuous time in his personal life as he went through an ugly divorce. That said, booking a fight is one thing—asking for a showdown with former UFC champion is an entirely different animal.
“I was kind of stunned that Alberto Del Rio wanted to fight me,” Ortiz said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I was like are you serious? Is this a joke? Combate Americas put their money where their mouths were and I’m excited. It’s going to be worth my time.
“I want to make sure I put on a great show for the fans and give Alberto a chance to take advantage of the fight. I’m going to show how devastating I truly am as I did against Chuck Liddell.”
Taking the fight against “El Patron” meant Ortiz would be coming out of retirement for the third time with his 45th birthday just around the corner in January.
While the list of mixed martial artists who have found great success deep into their 40s can probably be counted on one hand, Ortiz says he’s coming back for all the right reasons this time because his body is healthy and his mind is right.
He’s also going to walk into his fight against “El Patron” as a massive favorite with three times the experience as his opponent not to mention a resume where Ortiz has faced the who’s who of MMA for more than two decades.
On paper the result in this fight should be a foregone conclusion but Ortiz isn’t treating it that way at all.
“I’m not taking this fight less serious than any other fight,” Ortiz stated. “This is a serious fight for me. This is my integrity. This is my legacy. I know the damage I can do. I know how vicious I can be. I know what I’m going to do to Alberto. It’s just what does he think he’s going to do? I know I’m going to answer his questions really, really quick once we’re inside the cage.”
Because he’s putting his heart and soul into training, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” expects the fight to go his way in dominant fashion but he hopes “El Patron” will show up ready to fight.
“I think he’s going to come out aggressive. He’s going to try to take me to the later rounds and I love it when people think that I’m going to get tired,” Ortiz explained. “I don’t think there’s been one time in my career when I’ve been tired since 1998 when I fought Guy Mezger the second time, I think that’s the only time I’ve been tired. I’m a work horse. I’m in such a positive place and my body is reacting just the way I want it to.
“It will be an exciting fight. If Alberto makes it out of the first round, it will be surprising.”
Ortiz has already said that he plans to continue fighting after Saturday night is finished so a win is obviously paramount to whatever future plans he has in store.
Still, Ortiz is a showman and he wants to entertain the crowd in Texas as well as the viewers watching the first ever Combate Americas pay-per-view.
“I’m going to go out and try to finish him as quick as possible,” Ortiz said. “I’m going to start getting ready for the next fight. So I’m going to go out there and try to finish him as quick as possible or do I drag it out a little more and give the fans their money’s worth?
“We’ll have to see when the time comes and see how strong he is and how fast he is and see if he’s ready for Tito Ortiz. He’s never fought anybody like me in his life.”