It’s hard to deny the next-level credentials of UFC fighters BJ Penn and Tito Ortiz. Each man had established himself as a star and promotional champion before the Ultimate Fighter ever aired, compiling a number of notable wins since as well including a second title-run by Penn in 2010.
With Penn essentially retired and Ortiz ready to hang up his trademark flamed trunks the time for reflection is rapidly approaching, as is their induction into the UFC Hall of Fame according to promotional president Dana White.
“Despite my personal problems with Tito, he belongs in. He was the champion when we first bought this thing. The fact that Tito is still here, Tito and I have had our moments, but it doesn’t change what he did for the company,” explained White in an interview with MMAFighting. “The beef between me and Tito, Chuck and Tito, the fact is, that played a huge role in helping making this thing as big as it is.”
Ortiz is currently scheduled to fight in July at UFC 148 against Forrest Griffin in what is expected to be his final appearance inside the Octagon.
As far as the iconic Hawaiian, White credited Penn for helping educate the public on how dangerous an individual can be even if he’s not necessarily the largest guy in the ring.
“There was a point in time when we first bought this company when people thought guys in the lighter weight divisions couldn’t be stars and couldn’t see pay-per-views and couldn’t cross over. Penn was definitely that first crossover guy for us,” explained White, adding he felt “The Prodigy” would probably return for at least one more fight before truly calling it quits.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC