Tito Ortiz, self-professed "huge Rocky fan," is hoping to emulate the box office brawler and capture the hearts of Philly fight fans when he takes on Rashad Evans at UFC 133: "Evans vs. Ortiz II" at the Wells Fargo Center on August 6 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The former light heavyweight champions first met back at UFC 73: "Stacked" on July 7, 2007, battling their way to a disappointing and somewhat controversial draw.
Following the inconclusive headliner, both "Suga" and "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" experienced different career trajectories. Simply put: Evans went boom and Ortiz went bust.
Now they find themselves facing off once again thanks to an untimely knee injury from Phil Davis. Ortiz told media members on today's UFC 133 conference call that he's "hungry" to do whatever it takes to get his hand raised:
"I think it's a lot different on both sides. His shots are a lot better, he's a lot faster. I've gotten a lot better, I've gotten stronger not having my injuries anymore. I'm hungry, I don't feel like a 40 year-old man anymore. I feel like a 30 year-old man. I've always been a huge Rocky fan. Doesn't everything in life happen for a reason? Philly is going to feed that much more emotionally for me. I'm willing to fight, I'm willing to step up. I want to put on an entertaining fight. I know I'm capable and I know I'm capable in Philly. My advantages will be my heart. I'm prepared for anything and everything...I'm going in focused and positive that my hand will be raised."
After going winless in five straight fights with four losses, Ortiz bounced back to upset Ryan Bader at UFC 132: "Cruz vs. Faber II" earlier this month.
The feel-good win helped the longtime veteran recapture some of his fanbase and he'll likely need that momentum opposite Evans, who at 15-1-1 is widely considered the division's number one title contender.
Will Rocky Ortiz pull off another miracle? Or will Evans ruin the Huntington Beach comeback?