5 YRS AGO: Tito Ortiz eying July bout with Forrest Griffin or Chuck Liddell for final UFC fight (w/Penick’s Analysis)

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Tito Ortiz (photo by Wade Keller © MMATorch)

Five years ago this week, Tito Ortiz was preparing for his last fight. Five years later, he’s preparing for his last fight. The following MMATorch article, published Jan. 3, 2011, details what the circumstances were when he was looking at retiring at age 36.

Tito Ortiz extended his UFC career for a few fights in July when he defeated Ryan Bader, but he’s since suffered two decisive stoppage losses to Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his last two fights.

The brutal body shots he took against Evans and Nogueira saw him crumpled over after each fight, but in a video interview last week with MiddleEasy.com, Ortiz said he didn’t suffer any major damage in his UFC 140 loss.

“Health’s doing amazing after the fight against Nogueira,” Ortiz said. “I got hit in the body, but no broken ribs; I was very stoked. [I’m] a little bruised, my heart hurts more than I think my body does. But it’s one of those things that, it happens as a fighter. Some win, some lose, just as long as I can walk away and know that I learned something from it.”

Even before that loss, Ortiz has said he has one fight left in him before he retires. In the interview, he gave an update on when he felt that fight would happen, and who he’d like it to be against.

“July, hopefully Fourth of July weekend I will be fighting my last fight and I’ll be done,” Ortiz said. “That’s it, it’s time to walk away. [As for an opponent], Forrest [Griffin], I know everybody would like to see me against Chuck [Liddell] and, I don’t know. We’ll see what Lorenzo and Dana have to offer and see what they want to do. I’ll sit down with Lorenzo and Dana next week and let’s see, let’s make a fight – my last fight – and let’s make a memorable one.”

Penick’s Analysis: If there was any fight that would get Chuck Liddell out of retirement, it would be a third bout with Ortiz, but that’s not at all likely to happen. Dana White doesn’t want to see Liddell fight, and fans wouldn’t want to see him risk going out to Ortiz with his chin issues over his last several losses as well. That said, he still has the power to do to Ortiz exactly what he’s done in their previous two fights. I don’t know if the Griffin fight is one that the UFC has a ton of interest in making, either, but once you get past those two names there aren’t a ton of other options from a name standpoint for Ortiz’s final fight in the UFC.

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