By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report
Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report
Weight can be a finicky burden. Sometimes you don’t realize how heavy something is until you let it go. For the better part of 15 years Tito Ortiz carried a good portion of the load. Weather his former employers are willing to admit that or not, weather his detractors are willing to admit that or not, it is undeniable he was one if not the, torch bearer for a long time.
However that weight started to take its toll. Years of fighting injured, and ‘answering the call’ to duty had left the former Champion adrift in the rankings, injured and without any real love from the house he helped build. So he left. And it appeared the sun was setting on a former UFC Champion and UFC Hall of Famer. However, Tito Ortiz just didn’t feel ready to call it a career yet. And once again, the sun began to peek above the horizon.
So, he signed with Bellator MMA and after an initial fight with Rampage Jackson fizzled out due to an Ortiz neck injury, it seemed Tito would ride out the rest of his days in quasi relevancy appearing from time-to-time. However then they announced his first fight.
Ortiz debuted against former 185 lbs champion Alexander Shlemenko (51-9 MMA) and quickly dispatched him with a head and arm choke. Although the much larger man, Ortiz looked the part putting the smaller striker to sleep before digging his grave in the center of the cage, in classic Ortiz fashion.
Then he went on to systematically beat the tar out of an aging Stephan Bonnar (15-9 MMA). Again although Ortiz’s opponent didn’t look up too snuff, Ortiz certainly did. His wrestling looked as explosive as ever, and his gas tank never emptied. That win, although not against a top contender, led him to this title shot against current champion Liam McGeary (10-0 MMA). In McGeary, Ortiz not only faces the Champion but his toughest test since switching companies.
The champion McGeary on paper presents a ton of challenges, mainly his freakish reach. Ortiz not know for his boxing will somehow have to find a way inside in order to impose his will. If he ends up going backwards, or flailing for a takedown it could be long night, (or a short one) for Ortiz. However if Ortiz can bring the fight into his own neighborhood he certainly has the power and ability to end the fight himself. the one outcome that is assured is greatness! Greatness is bound to happen, either McGeary becomes bonafide, or Ortiz shocks the world, how can you not watch?
Win or loose Ortiz has already said his fighting career will continue, and from the way he has looked in the cage and in training who can argue? His performance against McGeary may steer some opinions one way or the other, but one thing seems certain, the sun may have set on the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, but its only rising for the ‘Peoples Champion’.
Tito Ortiz took a second to talk with Aaron Tru from The Brutally Honest Radio Show about his upcoming fight, his journey for another world title, and about cementing his name in history. Plus his lovely girlfriend Amber Nicole also has a few things to say about how the ‘People’s Champion’ prepares. Check out the video below:
Brutally Honest Radio is hosted by Aaron Tru, Adrian Gallegos, and Jonathan King. The podcast is broadcast live each week from an undisclosed studio in Long Beach California. You can subscribe and download each episode on iTunes. Or you can listen on sound cloud.