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Chael Sonnen Says Tito Ortiz’s Retirement at Bellator 170 Won’t Be By Choice

January 6, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Chael Sonnen spoke with MMAjunkie ahead of his fight with Tito Ortiz at Bellator 170. Some highlights are below:

On fighting Ortiz: “Tito’s always been on my list. Tito had a great career. (He was a UFC) champion, a (UFC) Hall of Famer, and frankly, he deserved both. He was the best fighter in the world. What he did for the industry, and the amount of attention he brought in, the cards he headlined, and the media he was able to get – he belongs in the Hall of Fame. My contention was, not only was I the best fighter of my time, I would’ve been the champion of the world 10 years earlier had I only gotten the opportunity. Tito Ortiz, as good as he was, never would have been champion had I been given the shot. And it’s not just Tito – it’s all the guys from that era. I could’ve whipped them all, and I have made that claim for a long time. When I finally did get my shot, I did whip them all.”

On his confidence going into the fight: “From a personal standpoint, I told my friends, I told my family, I told my coaches, I’m the best fighter in the world – and I have been for a meaningful period of time. And if I’ve got to go back and run the clock back and show everybody now that I was the best back then, too, then that’s what I’m going to do. That’s really my motivation for Tito. I don’t disparage his skills or his standing in the sport. He’s very good … but he is not me.”

On his plan to send Ortiz into retirement: “He says this is his retirement fight like there’s some kind of choice. He acts like he’s the first Hall of Famer that I’ve retired. He acts like he’s the first guy I haven’t sent out on their shield because they had no other options. I didn’t get brought into Bellator to fight Tito Ortiz. I got brought to Bellator to replace Tito Ortiz.”