Tito Ortiz: I want to fulfill remaining fights on Bellator contract and retire as world champion

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

And by "world" he means "Bellator."

Ladies and gentlemen, Tito Ortiz IS BACK!

Well, sort of.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion registered his first win under the Bellator banner -- and just his second in nearly eight years -- by choking out the promotion's middleweight champion, Alexander Shlemenko, on the main card of the Bellator 120 pay-per-view (PPV) event last Sat. night (May 17, 2014) in Southaven, Mississippi.

Click here for our post-fight recap.

Following his submission win, Ortiz (17-11) gave "Storm" his patented post-fight burial, doing the air shovel (think air guitar for morticians) and jumped around like he'd just won the lottery. I guess for him, he kinda did, since most fans expected him to fold up and get stored under Bjorn Rebney's bed like the Total Gym.

Looks like "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" had the last laugh.

"I have three fights left on my contract with Bellator," Ortiz said during the post-fight press conference (watch it here). "I want to fulfill those and be the world champion when I retire. I want to continue fighting until my body says 'okay, it's time to stop.'"

His body has been telling him that for quite some time, actually, but he's just choosing to ignore it.

To start talking about word titles after a win over Shlemenko leads me to wonder aloud if weathering the "Storm" has left Ortiz with a false sense of security. While he was a heavy underdog coming into last weekend's fight, he essentially bullied an above-average striker with a below-average physique.

Have Shlemenko stand next to Bellator 170-pound champion Douglas Lima, and you may find it hard to argue the Russian is not a natural welterweight.

That brings us to the old bar-fight maxim that a good big man will always beat a good little man, which is why we have weight classes. I've heard rumblings that Ortiz vs. Shlemenko was fixed based on the outcome, but I don't believe that to be the case.

That's because the "fix" was in the matchmaking, not the result.

Whether or not Tito got his groove back while doing work in "The Magnolia State" is unclear. There's a very strong chance he simply abused a smaller guy who would have lit him up like a light heavyweight Lite-Brite, had Shlemenko been blessed with the physical tools required to do so.

It was power that was needed against Ortiz, not precision.

No matter.

The self-proclaimed "People's Champion" has a new lease on his mixed martial arts (MMA) life and will graduate to bigger and better things within the division. That's by default, since he has yet to fight a light heavyweight under the Bellator banner.

I hear "King Mo" has nothing to do this summer...

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker