During an interview with TheWest.com.au, the UFC Hall of Famer reminisced about the early days of MMA and how it compares to boxing:
I remember when I first started, we were begging for people to come and cover the local events, and now they're begging us.
For me, boxing's like checkers, and MMA's like chess—there are so many ways to win the match. It's not barbaric; it's boxing, kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, cardio and it's all reached such an amazing level. As fans learn more about the sport, they just fall in love with it.
The growth of MMA has been nothing short of astounding.
Fighters like Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture are considered the pioneers of the modern day UFC. There were a multitude of other legends that helped build the sport, but these gentlemen were the first true superstars.
Ortiz recently announced his retirement from fighting, which prompted him to utilize his never-ending star power to back smaller promotions and launch a management company.
He is expected to be in Perth, Australia, on November 16 to support MMA promoter Grady Stewart's next event, Bragging Rights 4.
According to Stewart, he isn't attempting to compete with the UFC. Quite the contrary, he is looking to take in local fighters and help get them to the UFC.
Australia has been brimming with talent for years, but there are very few fighters from the country currently competing on a mainstream stage.
Ortiz believes Stewart is on the right track in making Perth the mecca of Australian MMA. As the overall interest level grows, more young athletes will choose MMA careers over other avenues.
It will also give present talent an opportunity to prove itself as UFC-worthy.
"This thing's just getting bigger and bigger," Ortiz said. "Grady bringing Bragging Rights to Perth really gives people an opportunity to see just how exciting it is."