When a chapter closes in a person’s life, they often become reflective, looking back and taking stock on that certain period of time. Former UFC champion Tito Ortiz has become one of those people as his long and storied mixed martial arts career nears its end.
The 37-year-old Ortiz will step into the Octagon for the final time on July 7, when he faces Forrest Griffin at UFC 148. The 16-10-1 Ortiz made his professional MMA debut on May 30 at UFC 13, debuting on the same card as Randy Couture.
Ortiz was one of the first fighters to really embrace MMA as both show and sport, creating the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” image and riding it for all it was worth. Back then, Ortiz could have been described as brash, cocky or confident if one was inclined to be kind to the fighter. For those who were less enamored with Ortiz, he would have been described in far more colorful language in regard to his personality.
Whichever side of the Ortiz equation you fell on, there was no denying that he put asses in the seats and he backed his talk up inside the cage, winning the UFC light heavyweight title and defending it five consecutive times, a record for the weight division.
Throughout anyone’s life or career, they tend to have some regrets, and an older and wiser Ortiz is no exception. Now as his career comes to a close and he has put the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” behind him to become “The People’s Champion,” he is unafraid to own up to those regrets, telling FIGHT! Magazine:
Some decisions where probably against Dana, I probably shouldn’t have said some of the things I said. Some of the things I should have did, I should have carried myself a little different. I’m a very emotional guy. I wear my heart on my sleeve, a little too much I think. It gets me in trouble a lot. But I know I have integrity and I believe in the things I do. I look at my career and I think that’s probably the only thing, the stuff I said against Dana I probably shouldn’t have said. I know he’ll never forgive me. And it is what it is. But I’m just learning. I’m human.