It's a little weird to think it's already been a year since Tito Ortiz last fought. He stepped into the cage back in September of 2015, to fight current light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary. Ortiz lost the fight, via reverse triangle in Round 1, putting a halt to his mini late-career Renaissance, and handing the former UFC champ his first loss under the Bellator banner. Now, well past the mid-point of 2016, Ortiz is thinking about the future again, or to put a finer point on it, his next fight.
In an interview with Fight Hub TV Ortiz talked about his recovery from a recent neck surgery, taking some time off to be with his family, and now getting back in the gym and getting in shape again. He also talked about who he'd like to fight next, if possible.
"I sat there and started talking about Royce, the whole time," Tito said, when asked who he'd fight if he could book his own bouts. "You know what, I respect Royce so much. I said that's the only reason I would want to compete against him. It's nothing bad against him, I really really like the guy, but I just think his name is such a huge name. It'd really make sense for my last fight. But he don't want to do it... I guess I don't want to do it either. So lets make an interesting fight.
"Lets see if Fedor can get down to 205. Rampage. Rampage talked the kind of smack his last fight, saying that he'll fight me no matter what. Okay, let it be. Let's see him get down to 205. I'm a 205 lb fighter, been my whole career, 19 years. I'm not going anywhere, no reason to give anybody a little extra. I understand my levels of how I like to compete, and at 205 that's where I'm super fast. I'm a workhorse and that's my weight. So, Rampage or Fedor, or whoever they have else to fight me at 205. I don't care."
And while he sounded a bit like he was just blue-skying, it seems that Bellator has actively approached him about getting the bout with Fedor done.
"They came to me, actually, about it," Ortiz said of the Fedor fight. "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."
"Possibly, that's a good idea too," he continued, entertaining the idea of a potential catchweight bout. "We'll see, it's up to them. It's up to them and it's up to Scott. I put every decision in his hands and let him do it and I'm just here to fight. I'm just ready to show my fans that I'm still here to compete and my body's healthy, my mind's right; I don't think I've really stepped back on any things in my trainings. So, I'm able to do the stuff that I wanna do to become great."
At the end of the day, however, weightclass is the deciding factor for Ortiz if talks toward a bout with Emelianenko are going to go forward. If Fedor can get down far enough in weight, Ortiz will be there to fight him.
"I think it's just the weight, in my mind," Ortiz explained. "That's the only thing stopping me. I'm getting paid the same amount of money no matter what, don't matter who it is. Don't matter if it's some nobody on the street - which I would never do - but still. Bellator have really given us our own constructive criticism about our own careers. So, it's really lucky to have that and to give us the decisions of who we're going to fight, when we're going to fight. And give us the opportunity to fight the people we wanna fight, it's lucky to be at Bellator to do that."
Ortiz also touched on the recent and growing interest in creating a fighters union. So check out the whole interview.