Tito Ortiz confirmed that he has three fights left on his Bellator contract Saturday night after submitting Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 120.
And he plans to fulfill the deal.
Ortiz told members of the press at the post-fight press conference that he has one goal in mind before finally stepping away from MMA.
“I want to be world champion when I retire,” said Ortiz, who won for just the second time in his last 11 fights when he locked in an arm triangle and choked Shlemenko out.
Ortiz (17-11-1) retired in 2012 following his induction into the UFC’s Hall of Fame, but that was short lived. He signed a deal with Bellator and was expected to face Quinton “Rampage” Jackson last November. A neck injury, though, forced him to the sidelines.
While recovering, Ortiz has expanded his skills. He runs a management firm and still has his “Punishment” clothing line, but is reaching further into the world for his post-fighting career.
“I’ve been in acting classes the last six months,” he said. “I’ve been juggling that with twin boys; being a single father is tough.
“But I love this. It’s fun.”
Ortiz went on a long-winded speech during the opening intros, stating that he “helped get this sport to where it is today. I’ve had five major surgeries, but I keep proving people wrong.
“I am just living the American dream,” he said. “I was a kid who had nothing and now I’m a man who has everything.”
The other win for Ortiz in his recent stretch dating back to 2006 came when he submitted Ryan Bader in 2011. That was a similar situation to his fight with Shlemenko, the self-proclaimed “People’s Champion” said.
“I went through hell these last seven years,” he said. “Now, I’m living in heaven. I’ll kick all these light heavyweights (expletive).”
As one of the building blocks to the success the UFC built over time, Ortiz saw first-hand what it takes. With Bellator, he feels he is seeing the same kind of quality MMA.
“I think we did it,” he remarked. “Bellator is here to stay. They are just going to get better and better and better.”
Front-Page Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports