Yeah, this is the greatest time of my life right now. I look at the fact that I beat Ryan Bader, who was fifth in the world, top five in the world in all of MMA, at all levels, and I proved that I could still dominate. People had a lot of questions to see if I could still compete with a lot of people in the Light Heavyweight Division at this level. With the surgeries I’ve gone through, I’m very thankful for Dr. William Smith out of Las Vegas who gave me the surgery and be able to get in the cage and be able to compete at the level I know I can. Last night I proved it man, against Ryan Bader who was one of those things, I can look back. It was all the hard work and dedication of my team at the Punishment Athletic Center. Jason Perillo, Mike Giovani, and of course Ricardo Abreu. Those three guys put me through hell so I was prepared for this fight. Let me tell you, all my friends are happy and they’re able to look at each other and the people around them and be able to say “I told you so”. It’s nice to be back on top man. It’s a gratifying feeling.
— Tito Ortiz talking to SB Nation about his stunning win over Ryan Bader at UFC 132
My hat’s off to Tito Ortiz (never thought I’d say that). Hardly anyone, including myself, gave him a chance to beat Ryan Bader. In fact, no one really talked about how Tito could win, but rather what would he do after he lost, after the UFC released him. Would he go to Strikeforce? Bellator? ProElite? Or simply retire? Boy, did he show us.
So instead of wondering if he’ll retire, we’re now left asking who he’ll fight next. If you ask Tito, the list is short, but oozing with top tier talent.
Listen, I’ve fought top five guys in the world my whole career and I will continue to do that. Whoever they want me to fight, whenever they want me to fight, I’m gonna set up and I’m gonna compete against the top guys. I’ve always been competing against the top guys in the world. Rashad, Forrest Griffen, Shogun…whoever takes me to the Light Heavyweight title. I would love for it to be Jon “Bones” Jones but I know he and Rampage are fighting each other. I need one or two more wins. I just have to keep dominating guys in the Light Heavyweight division and keep doing my job and give the fans what they want and that’s a great fight. I want to fight top guys. The top guys are who I have to fight. I’m sick of guys trying to make a name off of me.
Interestingly, the one rematch he isn’t clamoring for is Lyoto Machida, and he just happens to be the only top tier light heavyweight who’s available right now. I’m not particularly interested in seeing that fight again and I doubt Tito wants to chase him around for another 15 minutes, but it will be interesting to see if the UFC considers it just based on timing. If the UFC wants to wait a month or two though, the better option would be to pit him against either the winner of the Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Rich Franklin fight or the Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Forrest Griffin fight. There’s also that grudge match with Matt Mitrione I wouldn’t mind seeing…