Tito Ortiz believes he deserves not only an apology but a pretty big thank you from current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. The star of the Fighters Only 2012 Icon Issue has hit back after Jones criticized Ortiz in an interview last month.
Ortiz, who quit the Octagon this summer after his final swansong appearance against Forrest Griffin at UFC 148, says he’s disappointed with Jones’ outburst and expected a little more from the new universally recognized 205lb world number one.
“Jon Jones says all I did throughout my career was talk about money. But I wanna say to him, ‘Dude, the only reason you get to drive around in a Bentley is because I battled for that s**t!’ That’s what I left for him. That’s why I can’t understand why he said what he did about me. And I’m not going to just say he was misquoted, because I read the whole conversation, but I think it was just hatred, you know.
“When everybody started calling him a p**sy for not taking the fight with Sonnen, I was the first fighter who stood up and said, ‘you don’t know the whole truth behind this thing. You’ve got to make the right decision for yourself, as this is a business.’ I supported him.
“Then he comes out and starts saying all I talked about was money and saying he’s nothing like me at all, basically being very disrespectful towards me. It’s not like I don’t like the guy or anything. I was just like, ‘Wow, is that the way he wants to go? That’s too bad.’ I was just so disappointed.”
A self-confessed Jon Jones fan, before ‘Bones’ opened his mouth at least, Tito expects even bigger things for the current owner of his former title belt in the future. Although, he quickly pours water over the prospect of a future super-fight with heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos – a fighter Tito rates above all others right now.
“A super-fight between Jon and Junior makes sense, and that could possibly happen. But then, you’re talking about a champion who won’t even take a fight at two weeks notice, so it’s impossible to know what he’s thinking about. It’s hard to know what another fighter is thinking, you know, ‘cos we’re all completely different animals. I can’t even count how many times I’ve fought a guy who I wasn’t scheduled to fight, when someone has come in just two weeks.
“Throughout my whole career I was presented with fights like that, but I just stepped in and I fought. Dana needed me to fight, so I’d always accept the fight and then ask, ‘So, who is he?’ ‘Patrick Cote? Cool, I’ll fight him’ I was supposed to be fighting Mark Coleman, Mark Coleman pulls out, ‘Who am I fighting? Forrest Griffin, cool, I’ll fight him.’ I always stepped up. I’d put so much work into the camp that I wanted to fight. I didn’t care who it was, I was confident enough in myself to beat any of these guys.”
Ortiz was shocked then, when Jones turned down the Chael Sonnen replacement match last month? “No, actually, it didn’t shock me, as it was a business decision,” Tito says. “But it’s the wrong way to represent the company, after all he’s the champ. And when you give him someone like Chael Sonnen, someone he should walk right through, come on…
“Okay, it’s a lose-lose situation because Chael just lost and if you beat him its like, ‘Well you were supposed to beat him.’ But you’re saving the company, and you’ll get big kudos for it. I didn’t get kudos for it because I cancelled it out with the trash I was giving them, but…”
Talking of super-fights, Ortiz is also quick to fire out a serious warning regarding another possible match-up featuring one of his ‘favourite’ current UFC champions. Along with Jones and Dos Santos, Ortiz remains a big Georges St Pierre fan and is keeping his fingers crossed that the welterweight champion manages to bounce back from surgery against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 in December.
However, should GSP rediscover his old form Ortiz is keen for him to resist the temptation of a highly-touted catchweight match-up with middleweight champion Anderson Silva. “I hope Georges doesn’t suffer the same problems I did, I really hope he comes back and picks up where he left off as he’s an awesome guy,” Tito adds.
“Although, I hear there’s a fight with Anderson Silva in the works too, which is a bad mistake on Georges’ part. Anderson is way to big for him… What’s Georges, like five-ten and 185b? And he’s fighting a guy that’s coming down from 217lb and six-three – come on! He doesn’t need that fight, that’s for sure.”
TITO ORTIZ: FIGHTERS ONLY 2012 ICON ISSUE
Fighters Only publishes the third in its series of Icon issues this month, with the eagerly awaited worldwide release of Tito Ortiz: The People’s Icon edition set to hit newsstands worldwide over the next few weeks.
FO spent three days with Tito and his family in Huntington Beach, sourcing never seen before images and tons of exclusive interviews for the issue, which charts the illustrious career of the former ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy.’
Following the 2010 Chuck Liddell Icon Issue, and last year’s Randy Couture special, the 2012 Tito Ortiz: People’s Icon edition of Fighters Only is a must have for MMA fans the world over. Order yours today by visiting Magazines and Subscriptions on our website