Supposing that a much younger Tito Ortiz in the midst of his light heavyweight title run could fight the current Jon Jones, the UFC Hall of Famer says that he would win.
That's how the former champion assessed his chances against "Bones" during a Monday interview on The MMA Hour, saying that his takedowns and "heart" would be enough to topple one of the sport's most dominant stars.
Still, Ortiz admitted to host Ariel Helwani that he wouldn't mind Jones breaking his record for consecutive title defenses.
But "The People's Champ" insisted that were he younger, he could very well prevent Jones from replacing his spot in the UFC history books (via MMA Fighting):
"I do, of course," Ortiz said with a chuckle on The MMA Hour. "I think I'd dominate him.
"Takedowns, of course. Clinch, striking. I don't know. Big heart. I think Jon Jones is good though, man. If anybody's going to beat my record, I would like him to beat it. I don't think there's anybody in this sport right now with the technique and skills that he has. I think he's very mellow-mannered, he's a soft-spoken guy, but his fighting shows how good he really is. I have nothing but respect for the guy, man."
Ortiz currently saw his record for successful back-to-back defenses of the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion tied by Jones at UFC 159, where the young champion cruised to a first-round TKO stoppage against Chael Sonnen.
And he did it all despite suffering a gruesome broken toe midway through the fight.
Could "Prime" Tito Ortiz beat Jon Jones?
Assuming that Jones makes a successful recovery, he will supposedly have the chance to formally break Ortiz's record in his next Octagon appearance—or even potentially face pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva in a much-anticipated UFC superfight.
Considering that Jones has thoroughly beaten Shogun Rua, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, his sixth title defense seems like a forgone conclusion, prompting Ortiz to joke about returning from retirement to stop him.
But as Ortiz admitted to Helwani, he's most likely finished as an active fighter, citing "a lot of recovery" still ahead of him, including an ACL tear and upcoming knee replacement surgery on May 9 later this year.
Ortiz's last run in the UFC resulted in a 1-3 stretch, where he dropped a set of losses to Forrest Griffin, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Rashad Evans—although his single win came in a shocking upset against top-ranked Ryan Bader.