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Tito Ortiz On Why He Decided To Return To MMA

November 30, 2019 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Tito Ortiz

In an interview with PWInsider, Tito Ortiz spoke about his upcoming MMA fight with Alberto El Patron and why he decided to return to the spot. Here are highlights:

On returning to MMA:
Tito Ortiz: Well I think this happened right after I fought Chuck Liddell last year. I came to a kind of crossroad in my life. “Can I go into business, or do I continue competing?” And I had to give a close friend of mine, Randy Couture, a call. And I asked Randy straight up when I called him, I said, “Randy, when you’re 43, what made you come back and want to win the heavyweight world title for UFC?” And he’s like, “You know, Tito? I didn’t feel like I was done. Because I felt like I had a lot more to give. You know, my body was right. You know, I would have gone on my own terms.” And I felt that same situation. I was like, “Randy, thank you so much for advice. I appreciate it.” Hung the phone up with him. Went downstairs, brought my kids to the kitchen table, and I said “Boys, Dad’s going to continue to fight.” And they had a big smile on their face. They said, “Dad, we know you can do it. You finished Chuck really easy, and your camp was great. We love you competing, and we believe in you.” And that was last year, and I started drying in the game and talking to Bellator. And it seems like some things are going to come together. And all of a sudden coming back to America and Campbell McLaren came to me, and he’s like, “We have a deal for you.” I was like, “Really?” I go, “But who’s the opponent?” “Well, this is a part of the deal. The opponent, he wants to fight you. And his name is Alberto Del Rio.” I was like, it put a smile on my face. “Alberto Del Rio? You mean the heavyweight world champion for WWE?” He was like, “Yeah.” I was like, well, I ain’t going to hop on to something too quick. I want to make sure that I do my homework. And I looked him up, and I was like, “All right.” He has a 9 and 5 record in mixed martial arts. So he’s a fighter, he’s wrestled for many years, so he’s a wrestler. So you know, our styles have a little similarity, actually. Do you know what? If I’m going to test myself, and I want to push myself, and I want to still compete, and I want to entertain my fans, I think this would be an entertaining fight. I think the fans would like it. You know, it’ll be crossover from WWE into MMA. And I agreed to the fight, and it’s not only just a fight, it’s a one more fight after, and an ambassadorship with Combate America to help them grow their brand. And I was in. I was signed in, you know. That was back in June. In July, I started my camp, and I haven’t really looked back. You know, I just kept adding my layers to myself. You know, just getting tougher and tougher and tougher.”

On fighting Alberto El Patron for his WWE World title belt: Well, I think that that plays for both of us fighters. He’s a fighter also. So both of us fighters, him having the WWE Heavyweight World Championship belt. I’ve always wanted one of those. I don’t know what WWE fan wouldn’t want one of those. I mean, not just a replica, but the real one. I’ve always wanted one of those. So I’ve had five, I have five world title belts in my office, and I was wanting to add something to it. So I was willing, “You know what? Let’s make this a little more exciting.” Let’s make it something that I want, and I want to give, or give a chance for him to work a little harder. And it’s going to make me work harder, because I get an opportunity to have another belt amongst my mantle of belts. I’m excited for it. So to have that Heavyweight WWE World Championship Belt, I’m just not super excited. My kids are ecstatic. They’re like, “Dad, please, you better win this.” So when I am training, I think about that, you know? I want to win that world title belt. And people say, “Oh, that’s a fake belt. It doesn’t matter. That’s fake wrestling.” Yeah. But he had to work his butt off to become a champion, and now all of a sudden they’re just going to hand the title to somebody and say, “Here, you’re a champ.” No, you got to make sure that you got fans that follow you, fans that love you. And he’s done that. And with my belts, you know, I’ve worked my butt off for it. Blood, sweat, and tears that I had to work so hard to even win that world title belt. Not only just winning it, but defending it five consecutive times. But of the longest reigning light heavyweight champions underneath Jon Jones. I’ve done that, but I think it just adds a little twist to this fight that makes it that much more interesting. But let me tell you, don’t get me wrong. That Heavyweight WWE World Championship belt will look nice on my mantle, and I’m going to get it. I’m going to take it.”

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Tito Ortiz, Joseph Lee