Career comeback or running on hopes and dreams?
Call it what you want, but Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Hall of Famer and current Bellator Light Heavyweight No. 1 contender Tito Ortiz (18-11-1) will be back inside the Decagon to tangle with undefeated mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter and dangerous striker Liam McGeary (10-0) at Bellator 142: "Dynamite 1" TONIGHT (Sat. Sept. 19, 2015) inside SAP Center in San Jose, California.
"Huntington Beach Bad Boy" has reeled off two-straight wins, first starching former Bellator Middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko and then garnering a hard fought, split-decision victory over Stephan Bonnar in 2014, to set up a shot at the British striker.
"I want to show everybody out there that once you set your mind to something, you can achieve anything. My achievement is to get that world title around my waist," Ortiz told MMA Fighting's Luke Thomas.
Of course, the 40-year-old went through a rough stretch in UFC between May 2008-July 2012, achieving a 1-6 Octagon record over seven outings. Now, injuries have played a major role in his UFC career, but Ortiz hasn't held a world title since Nov. 2002.
There are major questions surrounding Ortiz's ability to hang with a younger, more dangerous brute at his current age.
Doubters aren't anything new to him, though.
"This reminds me of when I fought Ryan Bader and I was a 6:1 underdog. Once again, I'm here again. I'm going to win," said Ortiz.
McGeary, meanwhile, is one dangerous fella. The 32-year-old has run his MMA record up to the tune of 10-0, with 11 finishes.
The only man to take him the distance was his last opponent, previous 205-pound champion Emanuel Newton. "The Hardcore Kid" engaged in an entertaining battle with McGeary back in February at Bellator 134, which encompassed all facets of martial arts.
With that being said, Newton possesses valuable knowledge and he passed a couple of nuggets onto Ortiz, who will be stepping into the 10th world title bout of his MMA career.
"[Newton told me] 'If you're in shape, you won't have a problem.' [We talked] a little bit of his strength ... how strong is he. I'm in great shape. I'm going to push the tempo, man," Ortiz emphasized. "The question is, has Liam McGeary fought anybody like me? Has he fought anyone at my caliber or fought anyone of the caliber I fought? No, this is the ending of my movie. This is maybe the end of my career. This is something I wanted -- I begged Scott Coker for this fight."
A split-decision win over "The American Psycho" doesn't exactly inspire confidence in me. Personally, Ortiz's best days are behind him and I see this one getting ugly in a hurry.
I'm not sure it will be the swan song he longs for (since Forrest Griffin marred his last one), but if he stays out of harms way long enough, perhaps Ortiz can make it a fight and go out admirably.
For more on the Bellator 142: "Dynamite 1" fight card click here.