Ortiz ready to get back in the cage

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

If Dana White had to plug his nose before going back into business with Tito Ortiz, he's not letting on.

And for his part, a much-tamed Ortiz has nothing but good things to say about the boss who once said he loved nothing more than watching Ortiz get beaten to a pulp.

"Everything's awesome, I just kind of miss that Dana travels so much because I don't have anybody to cuddle with in the night time," joked the former UFC light-heavyweight champ, who will fight Forrest Griffin in tonight's UFC 106 main event.

"I mean, we were good friends before this company was even bought by Zuffa. And it's nice to have a friend back because, let me tell you, it hurt to say the things I did say and to do the things that I did and you know I miss Dana as a friend.

"Me and him got along very, very well, so it's really cool to be able to pick up the phone and just talk to someone who was always my friend in the beginning."

White says the days of public jousting with his former No. 1 attraction are through.

"We squashed this thing and it's definitely squashed. It's behind me," says White.

"I literally don't think about it at all and, you know, it's business as usual. There are no hard feelings, no nothing between us."

And with the last two numbered card main events ending in suspect judging, White will be looking to the 34-year-old Ortiz to finish his fight tonight.

UFC 104 ended with Lyoto Machida getting the judges' nod over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua -- who White and the majority of those cageside and in pay-per-view land thought was a robbery.

Same thing with UFC 105 in England earlier this month -- where Randy "The Natural" Couture got the decision win over Brandon "The Truth" Vera, who definitely handed out more punishment than Couture.

Add to that a Strikeforce fight on CBS earlier in the month that showcased a knockout finish in the main event between Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers and the pressure is on for Ortiz-Griffin to at least win fight of the night honours. The two fought at UFC 59, with Ortiz winning a split-decision.

Despite mounting pressure, Ortiz says he is ready to get back in the cage for the first time in nearly two years.

He predicts neither fighter will look to win on points.

"We're going to try to finish each other and that's why I'm glad Forrest took this fight," says Ortiz, who has a 15-6-1 record.

UFC 106 was originally supposed to be headlined by Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin fighting for the heavyweight title. Illness forced Lesnar -- who had minor surgery earlier this week to deal with intestinal problems -- to pull out.

Tonight's fight is available on pay-per-view.

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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