After an incredibly exciting card at UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 2 filled with surprise knockouts and upsets, Tito Ortiz has revived his career just when everyone was ready to tell him to hang it up.
Ortiz is one of the most polarizing figures in mixed martial arts today and has a knack for drawing attention to himself, but it often doesn't have to do much with fighting.
That changed on July 2, 2011, however, when Tito managed to drop Ryan Bader with a right hand before submitting him with a guillotine choke for his first Submission of the Night bonus.
It was "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy's" first victory since his third fight with Ken Shamrock back in October of 2006.
It wasn't just any win either. It was a win over Ryan Bader—a man who had only lost to current champ Jon Jones and was certainly one of the top contenders in the division. This was supposed to be a rebound fight for Bader—a big name, low risk opponent to pad his resume with.
With such an impressive and important victory, who will be next in line for Tito Ortiz?
There's one thing that Tito Ortiz likes to do and that's fight the same guy over and over again. In his two bouts with Forrest Griffin, both have ended in split decisions with some controversy surrounding them.
If Forrest manages to beat Shogun Rua again, then this fight would certainly be out of the question. His stock would be too high if he was coming off of a victory over the former champion and he'd likely be in title contention again.
However, if Forrest loses to Shogun, he'd have lost three of his last five fights and a third fight might be an easy sell given how indecisive the last two fights were in addition to the popularity of the fighters.
I'm not saying it would be that entertaining, but it'd make sense for the UFC brass. Assuming, of course, that Tito doesn't fracture his skull again.
This would be another case of feeding Tito Ortiz to the rising star, except this time it'd be Phil Davis instead of Ryan Bader.
Mr. Wonderful has a big fight coming up against Rashad Evans and much like Forrest Griffin, only a loss would have this fight make sense. A win over Evans would obviously put him in the title picture.
Still, in the case of a loss, Davis could start to rebuild with a win over a quality name while also giving Ortiz another chance to shock the world and prove he's not finished.
Oh, how I miss Thiago Silva. Sure, he tested positive for banned substances after his last fight with Brandon Vera, but he's so entertaining that I can't wait for his one-year suspension to be over.
There's probably not a single person I wouldn't potentially match up with Thiago Silva because he always puts on exciting fights. After his beatdown of Brandon Vera was altered to a No Contest by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Silva has only one win in his last four fights.
His only two losses are to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, but coming off of a suspension, a fight with Ortiz could be good to help regain relevance in the division.
For Vladimir Matyushenko, it would be a second meeting with Tito Ortiz—the first being for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship back in September of 2001. Matyushenko is a veteran who caught a lot of attention with his recent knockout of Jason Brilz at UFC 129.
For Alexander Gustafsson, it would be just the right level of competition for his young carrer. At just 24, Gustafsson is a really promising prospect at 205 pounds. He's 11-1 with his only loss coming to Phil Davis. He's also a really exciting to watch and has only been to decision once.
The two will meet at UFC 133 which makes the timetable perfect for either match-up as well.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was supposed to headline UFC Fight Night 24 with Tito Ortiz, but an injury forced Tito to pull out, being replaced with Phil Davis.
Nogueira's matchup with Rich Franklin is a rough one, considering Minotoro has dropped his last two fights. It's possible that a third loss could result in him being cut by the UFC, but another shot would make sense given the level of competition he's faced—Ryan Bader, Phil Davis and now Rich Franklin.
For Franklin, a loss would be the first time in his career that he's dropped two straight and would mean four losses in his last six fights. A fight with Ortiz would be a reasonable way for him to prove his relevancy in the division.