Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion and current UFC Hall of Famer, Tito Ortiz, is one of the pioneers who helped build the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) and the brand of the company for whom he used to compete.
Love him or hate him -- it's almost certain that you did one or other and nothing in between. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" will forever be remembered as one of the most polarizing figures to ever fight in the Octagon, mainly due to his mouth.
Unfortunately, one of the keepsakes that fans will always remember Ortiz by is his proclivity to bring up his many injuries, particularly after losses. Whether it was valid or not, there will always be a bit of a stigma attached to Tito as a fighter who made excuses.
Tito sat down with Spike TV's "MMA Uncensored Live," where he discussed his transition into retired life, as well as what his career may have been like, were it not for his many injuries and medical procedures:
Ortiz started off the interview talking about how much he is enjoying life after fighting, which is currently providing him with plenty of things to do to keep him busy:
"It's everything that I expected it to be -- fishing, enjoying life, it's been a great time with my family, me and Jenna, all of my kids, doing my clothing, Punishment Athletics, my nutrition and my gyms. I'm just working hard on the business aspect of it. Instead of my brawn, now it's time to use my brain. Thank God I went to college!"
It didn't take long before the topic of Tito's health popped up. After giving a rundown of all the maladies with which he is currently being plagued, he cited his aversion to getting any more surgeries as his primary motivation for wanting to step away from MMA:
"Prior to the Forrest fight, I had 50-percent of my meniscus taken out. During the fight, I guess I re-tore the ACL in my right knee. So, I'm looking to get ACL replacement on my right knee. I had a neck problem, no one knew about it. But, I'm possibly getting neck surgery, again. This is why I'm retired. I'm sick of getting surgeries, man."
During the interview, Ortiz was asked if he would ever consider coming out of retirement to fight his former rival Chuck Liddell or anyone else, for that matter.
According to Tito, he's completely finished:
"I'm done. I've done what I wanted to do in mixed martial arts. I've got to this point in my career. Fifteen years, I thought, was good enough for me. I defended my Light Heavyweight title five consecutive times. I've done what I wanted to do. It was about money. I made my business, I needed it for what I wanted to do. I'm done. I'm content where I am and to work on the business side of it. I don't have the hunger for it, anymore. I'm sick of getting surgeries."
To close things out, Ortiz was asked about his legacy and how it will stack up when all is said and done. He was then asked how he thinks he would have fared if he'd not had to deal with all his many injuries.
Were it not for injuries, Tito believes he'd still be fighting today -- and he believes he'd be the champion:
"One hundred percent. For sure, I would have. I'd be beating Jon Jones, right now. I'd be beating everybody else that I've fought, up to this point. I still might have been 19-2."
Ortiz was given the opportunity to recant his brash prediction, and then was posed the question of whether or not he would have beaten the current version of "Bones" when Ortiz was in his prime.
He was as confident as ever:
"One hundred percent. What do you think I'm gonna say, no? I was the champion. I was dominant. Jon Jones tried to beat my record. I would have beaten Jon Jones."
Is Tito talking crazy? Or would a "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" in his prime have given "Jonny Bones" a real test?