At UFC 147 in Las Vegas on July 7th, Tito Ortiz will enter the UFC octagon for the last time against longtime rival Forrest Griffin. Ortiz is the longest reigning light heavyweight champion in the promotion's history, and one of the sport's first breakout stars.
Ortiz has been competing in the UFC for 15 years, and took his first fight for free as he didn't want to lose his amateur status while in college. In those 15 years, Ortiz faced the best the sport had to offer and walked away victorious against the likes of Evan Tanner, Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort.
He was a longtime rival of Chuck Liddell, and the two were responsible for some of the biggest pay-per-view buyrates in history. The UFC tried to capture lightning in a bottle a third time when they placed Ortiz and Liddell opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter. The fight fell apart when Ortiz suffered an injury and was replaced with Rich Franklin. Ironically, that would be Liddell's last time fighting in the octagon.
Ortiz has had a contentious relationship with UFC President Dana White, and at one point, the two were even scheduled to settle their differences in a boxing exhibition. After weeks of build, including a special on Spike TV, the match never came to fruition.
Ortiz is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer, and one of the first fighters to really show how devastating ground and pound could be. He also showed that a fighter has the ability to build his own brand.
Let's go and pour one out for the Huntington Beach Bad Boy.