I’m honest with myself, and when it is time, I will go. At 36, that day when I will walk away is coming. It’s coming soon; I know that and I’ve come to accept that. But it is not yet. I know I could have all kinds of wins if I was fighting different types of opponents, but I am fighting the best opposition in the division… I’m the Last of the Mohicans. Out of the fighters who helped build the UFC from what it was in the 1990s to what it is now in 2011, they’re all gone except for me. Chuck Liddell has retired; Randy Couture has retired. I’m the last man standing, and now everyone thinks Ryan Bader is going to put me down, too… I’ve been stopped due to punches, but I’ve not been knocked cold. But Bader has heavy, heavy hands … I don’t want to go. I’m not going to go. I am going to push the pace and win this fight July 2. My back is right against wall. I’m coming out swinging.
— Tito Ortiz “In his own words” on ESPN.com
Yep, that’s Tito, making everything dramatic. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but he’s absolutely right. His back is against the wall. Most fans don’t think he’ll be beat Ryan Bader on July 2 and I doubt he will either. If he doesn’t, he’s going to be faced with either retirement (something he admits is “coming soon”) or fighting outside the UFC for the very first time in his 25-fight career. Unless he desperately needs the money, I hope he chooses the former. It would be kinda sad to see him fight somewhere else at this point sorta like it was when Michael Jordan came back and played outside Chicago for Washington. Okay, maybe not that sad, but you know what I mean.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog