Huntington Beach bad boy Tito Ortiz is back

Since writing unfavorably about a MMA fighter can be hazardous to your health, I must be prudent in my word choice. Maybe it’s best to have you the reader fill in the blanks, choose the right words to describe Jacob Christopher “Tito” Ortiz’s past and the situation he must have faced while preparing to do battle on Saturday night against Ryan Bader on the UFC 132 fight card.


First of all, consider this, the 36 year-old’s MMA record going into the fight was 24-16-1 and it had been almost eight years since he was the UFC Light Heavyweight Champ. Even if we set aside the rust factor, the drama outside the Octagon with his girlfriend Jenna Jameson (which has all been recanted), must have bothered him. Then there was the opening of his new gym, the Punishment Training Center, in a down economy. Let’s just say things got pretty dicey for the big guy right up until fight night.

It didn't take very long before Tito Ortiz had Ryan Bader on his back.

On Saturday, with his back against the wall, his UFC contract on the line, and riding a winless streak going back to 2006, the former champ pulled out one of the biggest upsets of his career. Going toe-to-toe with the younger fighter, he dropped the faster version of himself with a short right hand that landed square on the chin. As Bader crashed to the mat, Ortiz followed and delivered even more punishment from the top position before locking up the fight with a guillotine choke. The hold won him the fight, saved his career and notched him an extra $75,000 for Submission of the Night.

When interviewed later, the former champ said he found inspiration from his fans, family, and training partners. “They pushed me and each week I got better. I was doing it to prevail. I didn’t want to prove everybody wrong, I wanted to prove everybody right.”

When it comes to the catchy phrases, Ortiz is a master.

Another one that he’s used, “Don’t ever call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” He borrowed that one from a rapper.

The talker explained his return, “You gotta understand I’m healthy now. No more excuses. I’ve gone through two major surgeries that were my downfall over the last six years. I did what I had to do to get the win. I think Ryan didn’t respect me. For one time, I let my hands go. I have the hunger to be on the top again. I did what Jonny “Bones” couldn’t do—finish Bader in the first round. I’m healthy. Everything’s good.”

Even UFC President Dana White had to agree, “Everybody knew Tito had to win tonight to stay in the UFC. Not only did he win the fight, but he won the fight impressively. Dropping Bader and submitting him.”

The key, outside of the successful surgeries and rehab, is “confidence,” according to Ortiz. “You’ve gotta have something to motivate you. When you have confidence, you’re unstoppable.”

If Ortiz is indeed healthy, he may have another couple years of fighting left in him and in that time I’m sure all of his so-called haters will be willing to pay top dollar to see him get his ass whooped. Anyway, the bad boy is back and talking smack. According to one blog, he’s already called out both Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans for a rematch.


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