Don’t expect Tito Ortiz to talk too much smack this week. | File Photo: Dave Mandel
Tito Ortiz has been fighting for more than 14 years.
He’s also been talking trash for roughly the same amount of time. Brash and outspoken from the beginning, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” knows how to sell fights. This deep into his career, though, he no longer thinks the cutdowns are necessary.
“I think my attitude’s changed a whole bunch where now I’m more positive,” Ortiz said during an interview on Bruce Buffer’s “It’s Time” radio show. “Before I had to talk so much smack on the guy I was fighting. I had to be so negative. I’ve changed my whole attitude. I don’t need to sell the fight by talking smack on the other guy. My name will sell the fight.”
His next fight comes Saturday against Rashad Evans in the UFC 133 main event. Initially he declined the opportunity to replace Phil Davis and fight Evans, citing the fact that he had just spent weeks training for his July 2 upset victory over Ryan Bader.
“I had a lot of stuff to take care of at home,” Ortiz said. “I had been away for camp for a long time this last fight. When [the UFC] called me, I didn’t want to do it. Automatically. My first instinct was like, ‘I’m basking in the glory of just killing Ryan Bader. He’s the number five guy in the world and I just crushed him and faster than Johnny ‘Bones’ Jones could do.’ It took me a day. It took me a day to kind of really get it in my heart and know what I really wanted to do with my career.”
Ortiz then called back UFC President Dana White and asked if anyone had taken the fight yet. White said no.
“I said, ‘Put me in there. I want to do it. I want to show you guys that I’m here as a company man,’” Ortiz told White. “I’ve gone through some injuries. I’ve gone through some bad reactions prior in my career, but now I’m making the right decisions. I feel like I’m a new and improved Tito Ortiz.”
In July 2007 he fought Evans to a draw at UFC 73. Ortiz’s career then spiraled, as he lost three straight before his back-to-the-wall win over Bader. Meanwhile Evans has lost just once and holds victories over Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin and Quinton Jackson.
“He has speed and great takedowns,” Ortiz said. “I watched [the fight] with him and ‘Rampage,’ and the way he beat ‘Rampage’ was throw a one-two and hit the shot. I’ve got to make sure I defend the takedown, control the head position at all times and maybe possibly look for a shot myself.”
Evans is also a veteran of talking smack. Ortiz isn’t worried about words, though. He’s inclined to enjoy his underdog role and keep climbing back up the ladder.
“I’ve heard this all before,” he said. “I’ve proved people wrong by doing it. I’ll prove all the people right that have had my back when I get my hand raised after this fight.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 8:10).