More than a few jaws dropped last week when Tito Oritz came to the Bellator cage to announce he was coming out of retirement to fight “Rampage” Jackson. Yes, the 38 year-old fighter had hinted recently on Twitter that he was considering putting on the gloves again, but reports pointed to a Jackson-Roy Jones Jr. boxing match instead.
Now of course, the Ortiz-Jackson fight will headline Bellator’s first pay-per-view event on November 2nd, which will go down in Long Beach, California. While speaking on a media call Monday to promote the bout, Ortiz relayed the following about why he’s fighting Jackson, rather than another of Bellator’s less established fighters first (quote via MMA Junkie.com).
“I come here and I fight someone who no one knows, and all of a sudden, people are like, ‘Tito’s getting a gimme fight,'” Ortiz said. “I don’t want no gimme fight. My whole career, I’ve always fought the top five in the world. I’ve always tried to be shut down, and sometimes I shut those people up, or I walk away with a close loss. But I always came out and put on a show.
“When I came out here, I didn’t want an easy fight.”
Although Ortiz closed out his UFC run with consecutive losses, all three came against former champs or highly regarded talent in Rashad Evans, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Forrest Griffin. Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since July, 2011, when he took out Ryan Bader with a first round, guillotine choke at UFC 132.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney also confirmed during the call that the November 2nd, Bellator 106 headliner will be a three round affair.
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