MMA was the Métier that Tito Ortiz supremely excelled at, however, after a long list of failures in the Octagon, it’s become quite obvious why the once golden boy of the UFC should’ve retired a long time ago.
Ortiz, formerly known as “The Huntingdon Beach Bad Boy,” burst on to the MMA scene in May of 1997 and won his first matchup against Wes Albritton, however, he lost his next fight, but still went on to compile a three-fight win streak.
In his fifth bout for the UFC organization, he was given a shot at Frank Shamrock and his 205-lb crown—he lost via submission (punches).
At the second attempt and in his seventh professional fight, he eventually captured gold at UFC 25, winning a unanimous decision against Wanderlei Silva.
That was beginning of the Ortiz era. He reigned supreme over the division for 1,260 days, and during that period accomplished what no other light heavyweight titlist had done before or since: He defended his crown a record five times.
He submitted Yuki Kondo, KO slammed Evan Tanner, ground and pounded Elvis Sinosic, decisioned Vladimir Matyushenko and wrecked shop on Ken Shamrock.
“The Grave Digger” was akin to a raging fire until Randy Couture simmered the flames and relieved him of his coveted belt in the process.
Chuck Liddell doused them completely.
The Ortiz era ground to a halt—little did he know, it would soon be permanent.
He went on a five-fight winning streak—en route to vie for the 205-lb Holy Grail once again. He was not aware that it would be his last shot at the title he once held with such pride and honor.
That night at UFC 66, “The Iceman” Liddell metaphorically read him his last rites.
From that point on, Ortiz (15-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) was never a force to be reckoned with, if anything, that was the night he should’ve retired with his head held high, leaving an eventful and storied career behind.
That, however, was not the Ortiz way, and he continued to soldier on, in his last seven bouts following that loss, all he could muster was a draw and a single win—his first in almost five years.
Nevertheless, those five defeats (Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin, Matt Hamill, Rashad Evans and finally Antonio “Little Nog” Nogueira), were colossally embarrassing and I doubt anyone will say otherwise.
Honestly, someone should’ve taken him aside and had a quiet word in his ear: “Tito! Your aggression, rudimentary wrestling and never-say-die attitude has taken you this far. You can’t hang with the new breed of fighter and his all-round skill set. It’s time to call it a day.”
He’s even resorted to assuming a new moniker—"The People’s Champ”—how the mighty Ortiz has fallen.
With that said, some of the MMA’s and the UFC’s most distinguished combatants like Liddell and Couture have bid their farewell to the sport that brought them fame and fortune. Tito Ortiz should’ve done likewise a long time ago.
Apparently, Ortiz (16-10-1 MMA, 15-10-1 UFC) is set for one last hurrah in the Octagon on the Fourth of July (via MMA Mania), before he calls it quits—a hurrah we could no doubt do without.
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