Former light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame soon, in recognition of his achievements over the years.
A standout athlete in the early days of the UFC’s transition to prominence, Ortiz is a household name in the MMA world and remains a fan favourite to this day. He is the cover star of the latest edition of Train Hard, Fight Easy - out on UK news stands today.
These days the light-heavyweight crown rests atop the head of Jon Jones. Yesterday Ortiz told us he considers Jones to be already one of the best ever; today he tells us how he thinks he would have approached Jones if he had to fight him in his prime:
“Pressure. Don’t let him use that reach, try to close down the space with tons of pressure. Use my strength, use my wrestling. An injury free Tito Ortiz is very, very dangerous, and Ryan Bader was the last guy who got a close up of that one. When I’m injury-free I’m very dangerous.
“Me around 2000, when I was fast a strong and I was strong and my confidence was through the roof I could beat anyone. I could of beat anyone in the world man. Now, 15 years later, look at me I’m still competing against top guys in the world – like I always have done – but the injuries have taken their toll.
“If I was the same game but without the surgeries, then I’d still be the champion! When I look back at my loss to (Randy) Couture, that’s when I had my first back problem. I was suffering right through that fight camp, and I suffered for seven years with that back problem.
“Then after the Machida fight I couldn’t do it any more, I couldn’t eat any more pain killers so I ended up getting the surgery. And despite operations like the ones I’ve had and my back and my neck I’m still competing at the top.
“The secret is always staying positive, and everybody in every aspect of life can learn from that. You just have to tell yourself that you can do it, get through and you can - I’ve proved it.”