Once one of the most controversial and popular figures in the sport, Tito Ortiz has been quietly fading into the ether of MMA history since his initial retirement from the sport back in 2012. Aside from the occasional Trump rally appearance, we haven’t seen or heard much from Ortiz since his late career resurgence was ended by Liam McGeary last year at Bellator and Glory’s hybrid kickboxing/MMA event.
Now recovered from his approximately 1,800th neck surgery, Ortiz is once again ready to make a splash on Bellator’s light heavyweight division. In a recent interview with Fight Hub TV, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” discussed the list of potential opponents he would like to face in his return and specifically honed in his rumored bout with former Pride and Strikeforce champion Fedor Emelianenko.
Let’s see if Fedor can get down to 205. They came to me, actually, about it. Scott came to me about it and I was like, ‘If he can make 205, right on!’ I’m down for it, lets do it. 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 240, 245. He’s a big cat. As I say, I know my limits. I respect the guy, but at the same time, he makes 205? Let the beatings begin.
It makes sense that Ortiz would be shifting his focus to Emelianenko at this stage in his career. Aside from being a fight that could still do big business for Bellator, “The Last Emperor’s” recent performance against Fabio Maldonado showed that he is arguably more beatable than he ever has been. Considering the size Ortiz would be giving up to Fedor even at light heavyweight (and his paltry 3-7-1 record in the past decade), he’d need all the advantages he could get against a fighter as revered as Emelianenko.
That said, there’s absolutely no f*cking way that we’re going to see the 39-year-old Russian cut 30+ pounds at this stage in his career for a fight with Ortiz when he can just continue taking squash matches in Russia for the same amount of money. It’s far more likely that Ortiz will be booked against Rampage Jackson — who he was initially scheduled to face in his first match out or retirement until a neck injury (!!!) forced him out of the bout. There’s also a chance that we could see Ortiz square off against MMA legend Royce Gracie next, who he called out back in May for a potential retirement fight. Funny how Ortiz doesn’t seem to mind having his opponent fight up a couple weight classes, isn’t it?