At 39 years of age, Tito Ortiz is still pulling in big pay checks and finding success again inside the cage. Ortiz (18-11-1) has not seen a winning streak in nearly eight years when he last fought in the UFC and put together a five-fight win streak from 2004 to 2006. That winning streak would come to an abrupt end when Ortiz lost a second time to Chuck Liddell, ending his ties with the UFC going 1-7-1.
“The Hunnington Beach Bad Boy” would then sign with arguably the second best MMA organization in the U.S., in Bellator.
Bellator has been picking up former UFC fighters with big names, who have found their success in the cage again. One of those names was supposed to be Ortiz’s first opponent in the promotion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The fight between Rampage and Ortiz was cancelled when Ortiz had to withdraw due to a training injury last November.
Ortiz is now 2-0 in Bellator, defeating former middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko and this past weekend Stephan Bonnar. Many critics are still not impressed with Ortiz, both fans and fighters. The fact is, Ortiz’s name still has major drawing power, and love him or hate him, you want to see what happens to Ortiz next. The former UFC light heavyweight champion will turn the big 40 in January. Bellator will want to use Ortiz wisely, however, have him face another “named” or “popular” fighter to bring in big ratings.
There are many suitable opponents that Bellator could (and should) pit Ortiz against. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal expressed interest in fighting Tito Ortiz after his victory in Bellator 131. “I’ll Django your ass. Straight up”, said Mo to Ortiz.
This fight would pull in great numbers with two (very) charismatic fighters. King Mo might have to wait however, as Ortiz has expressed interest in fighting Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a fight that fans are still interested in seeing. If Rampage is used elsewhere, for example, a fight against Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton, Ortiz could get another former UFC opponent in Joey Beltran. A fight between “the Mexicutioner” Beltran and Ortiz could draw huge ratings in the Latino fan base, with a blessing in disguise in the UFC’s latest push of it’s brand in Central America.
Regardless of who Ortiz faces, the facts are: 1.) Ortiz’s name is still a huge draw and 2.) Bellator will remain competitive with the UFC if they continue to pick up fighters who leave the organization.