Alberto Del Rio made his return to MMA back at Combate Americas 51 when he took on Tito Ortiz. It was his first fight since 2010 but did so in a big rivalry and a massive fight for CA.
In the fight, Ortiz earned a first-round submission win, which wasn’t his ideal return. But, knows he trained hard for the fight.
“I was very upset, and people are never going to know what goes on in the mind of a fighter or athlete after losing a fight,” Del Rio told MMA Junkie in his first interview since the fight. “You have live another battle because you have to deal with the fact that you lost in a fight, that there’s a better man than you, that you trained so hard for so many months and that wasn’t enough.
“But after processing the loss, I felt good about it because I trained hard, I gave it my all in the training camp. It was tough adapting to the cage and I think a lot of people don’t understand that it’s night and day fighting in a cage as opposed to a ring. It’s completely different.
“And all that time away from MMA and since MMA has evolved a lot when I used to fight in Japan. You could win many fights with just wrestling and ground and pound, but now everyone has a good base in wrestling, striking, and grappling. So if I would’ve came back and had more time to prepare, maybe the result would’ve been different. But I leave happy, I didn’t have any major injuries from the fight, I don’t think I looked bad against a legend like Tito Ortiz, and I leave mixed martial arts happy. I’ll just continue growing talent with Combate Americas and keep doing what we’ve been doing from the beginning.”
Now reflecting back on the fight, Alberto Del Rio believes he could’ve won the fight and made some costly mistakes.
“I think I could’ve won that fight, I really do,” Del Rio said. “I made some mistakes with the strategy. but once again the would’ve doesn’t exist. Ring rust is real and it was there. I made two big mistakes and with someone as experienced as Tito that’s deadly.”
Now, it is back to being the President of Combate Americas and says it’s unlikely he will compete again.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime