UFC's Bad Boy draws inspiration from rivals

JOSE RODRIQUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:12 PM ET

It may seem a tad strange for Tito "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" to draw inspiration from the two men who embarrassed him most.

But the former UFC light-heavyweight champ says he's doing just that.

When asked if he saw retirement on the horizon, the California wrestler didn't hesitate to point to his former nemeses.

"(Chuck) Liddell was a champion at 36, (Randy) Couture was a champion at 36. Why do I have to go?" asks Ortiz, who is also 36 and coming off an impressive first-round victory over Ryan "Darth" Bader at UFC 132.

"I should go on my own terms. I'm healthy, I've got the heart and determination to go in there every day and push myself. Maybe in the next couple years we'll see. I wouldn't want to be fighting at 40 years old, no way."

Liddell holds two nasty knockout wins over Ortiz. In his only fight against Couture, the hall-of-famer contorted Ortiz into an awkward yoga-like position, then pretended to spank him in front of a delighted crowd at UFC 44 in Semptember 2003.

Ortiz admits the past few years have not been easy.

His victory over Bader was his first in nearly five years, during which time his spats with UFC president Dana White have been well-publicized.

"The last five years had been really frustrating, decision loss after decision loss after close decision loss," says Ortiz, who owns a 16-8-1 record.

"Things between me and Dana are really, really good right now. We're really happy. It's nice to have a lot of positive reinforcement because of my last performance."

Ortiz will headline UFC 133 after "Suga" Rashad Evans' original opponent, Phil Davis, was forced to withdraw due to injury.

It is the second meeting of the two 205-pounders with the first one -- four years ago at UFC 73 -- ending in a draw.

Ortiz, well-known for his trash-talking pre-fight build-up, says he plans to let his reputation, not his mouth, do the talking.

"My name is enough now. I don't need to talk trash to sell a fight," says Ortiz.

"I just want to get in there and compete with Rashad Evans and I want to get a world title around my waist again. There's nothing I'd rather do than that right now."

Evans says he relishes the opportunity for some resolution after the draw.

"It's not personal (against Ortiz). This is more for myself," says Evans, who is 15-1-1.

"I felt horrible about my performance the last time. It was one of those fights I wanted to get back. I didn't have the experience at that level yet and I hadn't wrapped my mind around the situation yet. I feel I'm much better off now."

UFC 133 will take place Aug. 6 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It is available in Canada on pay-per-view.

twitter: @joser403

blog: www.canoe.ca/scrapyard


Photos