Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz still carries quite the history with him into the cage. This evening, Ortiz will bring his resume and past to Bellator.
Ortiz takes on current middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 120 in a non-title fight. It marks the first pay-per-view by the promotion and the debut for Ortiz with Bellator.
As he recovered from neck surgery, Ortiz heard an interesting challenge out of Shlemenko, a Russian who has won 50 fights in his career. He posted a video, challenging Ortiz for the pay-per-view.
And, despite an expected 30-plus pound weight difference, both sides agreed to the fight.
“When you’re famous, people want to be famous,” said Ortiz, during an interview with MMAjunkie.com Radio. “And if he wants to be famous, I’m going to make him famous (tonight). Because he’s going to beat his face up with my fists and my elbow.”
It’s been two years since Ortiz stepped inside the cage, as he retired following a loss to Forrest Griffin the weekend he was inducted into the UFC’s Hall of Fame. However, a short time later, he agreed to a new deal with Bellator and was signed to face Quinton “Rampage” Jackson last November before going down with the neck injury.
While approaching 40 years old, Ortiz maintains he wants to wear the world title belt again. Emanuel Newton is the Bellator 205-pound champion, and either Jackson or Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal is expected to face him next.
“My goal is to be a world champion again,” he said. “Whoever else they give me (I will fight).”