Ronda Rousey vs Cyborg Santos: Tito Ortiz says 'let's do it,' but wants 'warm up fights' first

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has changed his tune on a fight between client Cris "Cyborg" Santos and UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Not long ago Ortiz said Santos could not make the 135-pound weight limit, now he believes "Cyborg" can make the weight and wants the fight to happen, but only after a few "warm up fights."

While the women have yet to officially debut in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are already clamoring for potential "super fight" between women's 135-pound champion Ronda Rousey and her nemesis, Cristiane Santos.

Rousey is currently scheduled to make her Octagon debut against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157 on Feb. 23, 2013, but the fight for which fans were truly hoping was Rousey vs. "Cyborg."

Unfortunately the match up could not take place because Santos' manager, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, stated last December that the Brazilian fighter was unable to safely make the 135-pound weight limit.

Little more than one month later, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" has changed his tune ... sorta. On Tuesday's edition of "UFC Tonight" on FUEL TV, Ortiz said he wants Rousey vs. "Cyborg" to happen and he thinks Santos will be able to make the weight after being offered the help of famed nutritional expert Mike Dolce.

He stated:

"It's going to be tough [to make 135 pounds]. When she cuts to 145 pounds she's shredded. To cut another 10 pounds? I don't know. I've been cutting weight for almost 20 years -- it's tough to do. To get another extra 10 pounds off at the same time? If Mike Dolce can do it in a healthy way, a healthy manner, and a doctor can prove it can happen the right way, let the fight happen. I want to see the fight, I know the fans want to see the fight, so let's make it happen."

Ortiz said when he first started working with Santos, making 135 pounds appeared to be out of the realm of possibility, considering the Brazilian beast walks around upward of 170 pounds. Should Dolce's help be successful and "Cyborg" can safely make the cut, Ortiz would like the much-anticipated Rousey fight to happen eventually, but would like to see Santos get acclimated to the weight class before jumping into a championship fight.

His plan:

"When I first signed her, the first thing she said to me was that, 'I cannot make 135 [pounds]. I walk around at 172 to 173 pounds. And for a woman to cut that much weight -- and for "Cyborg" to be the champion as long as she has in her weight class -- to cut down to that weight seems like a disadvantage to her. Maybe let's get her a couple of warm up fights at 135. In the very beginning, [UFC} said cut down to 135 and you have two months to do it. I don't want to hurt my fighter and her future as champion. She is a champion, she still is a champion."

"Cyborg" (10-1, 1 NC) has not competed in mixed martial arts (MMA) since a December 2011 fight against Hiroko Yamanaka under the Strikeforce banner. The 27-year-old won the fight by first-round technical knockout; however, the result was later overturned to a "No Contest" when Santos tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol, resulting in a one-year suspension from the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

Since the failed drug test many have questioned Santos' legitimacy of being a clean fight, but Ortiz insists the positive test was an isolated incident. Ortiz never failed a drug test in his 28-fight MMA career and says now that he is working with the former Strikeforce champion, no one has to worry about the result of a "Cyborg" drug test ever again.

His promise:

"Last year she got mixed up with a [banned] substance that one of her trainers turned her onto, but she has said it was her choice and her bad decision and she was willing to make that right claim. So, I'm going to put my name, my stamp on her to ensure that she'll never touch any of those things again and be the champion that she once was before."

Santos' suspension concluded in Dec. 2011, which means she can be booked for a fight at any time. Ortiz did not comment on his client's contract status with the UFC, but he said in a recent interview with Heidi Fang of "The MMA Fight Corner" that negotiations are "ongoing."

Ortiz has a tremendous amount of respect for Rousey, but if and when the fight materializes, he claims that "Cyborg" will be the one to hand "Rowdy" her first loss as a professional.

"Ronda Rousey is a great champion, she has a great name. Her attitude has completely changed. I watched her at the awards and when the spotlight is on you shine a little harder than you think you do. It's fine. She's a woman who deserves all the championship attention she can find at this point because when she fights "Cyborg" she will no longer be champion."

UFC 157: "Rousey vs. Carmouche" is headlined by the first-ever UFC women's bantamweight championship bout as Rousey attempts to defend her UFC title for the first time against Carmouche. Also announced for the card is a light heavyweight contender bout of Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida and a bantamweight rematch between Urijah Faber and Ivan Menjivar.

For more news and notes on UFC 157 be sure to check out or complete event archive right here.

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