Ultimate Fighting Championship Tito Ortiz discusses light heavyweight fight with Ken Shamrock at Thursday’s news conference.
Any list of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history includes Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort.
Those men also happen to reside on another list: All were opponents of Tito Ortiz.
Ortiz, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion, has become one of the sport’s biggest stars, not for his frequently outrageous acts but because few fighters have been involved in as many significant events.
“When you get right down to it, I’m a fighter and I live for this stuff,” says Ortiz, who will fight Ken Shamrock tonight in the co-main event of a UFC pay-per-view card at sold-out Mandalay Bay Las Vegas. “When the challenge is the biggest, that’s when I get up the most.”
Based on the one-sided nature of the first fight between Ortiz and Shamrock in 2002, which Ortiz won on a third-round stoppage, it might be easy for Ortiz to look past the 42-year-old Shamrock to bigger events and greater challenges.
But Ortiz, 31, understands that the bout not only provides him an opportunity to put a few knots on the head of a man he’s hardly fond of, but a victory will put him in position for a rematch with Liddell.
Liddell dominated Ortiz in a 2004 fight, handing Ortiz his second consecutive defeat by stopping him early in the second round at Mandalay Bay.
That bout, coming on the heels of a dominating victory by Couture over Ortiz, left Ortiz’s reputation in tatters. He seemingly had been relegated to a bit player in the UFC hierarchy.He nearly left the organization and got so far as to talk contract terms with boxing promoter Don King, who was considering investing in a mixed martial arts company.
But leaving the Ultimate Fighting Championship would have made a rematch with Liddell difficult, if not impossible, and that was not an idea Ortiz could tolerate.
“I think Ken has a lot left, and he says he’s trained hard for this fight and he says he has no injuries,” Ortiz said. “That’s good, because he won’t have any excuses. I’m as ready as I can possibly be. I want to get this fight over with, get it done, get it behind me.
Source: LV Review Journal
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