Ortiz inducted into UFC Hall of Fame
Mixed Martial Arts legend Tito Ortiz may be hanging up his gloves soon, but they’ll be laid to rest in the UFC Hall of Fame as the former light-heavyweight champion’s induction was announced today.
Trash-talking, slick-skills, brash attitude, record title reigns and baiting Ken Shamrock are all things Tito Ortiz will be remembered for and today the UFC announced that the Californian will be chilling in the organisations Hall of Fame in retirement.
Ortiz will be officially inducted at midday on July 7th meaning he will fight the final bout of his 15-year career against old nemesis Forrest Griffin at UFC 148 as a confirmed UFC Hall of Famer. A pretty decent way to get the ‘People’s Champ’ psyched up ahead of the final bout in that trilogy of fights against Griffin.
Ortiz is the first inductee since 2010, and joins Matt Hughes, MMA pioneer Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis, Mark Coleman, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn as well as contemporaries Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture in the pantheon of Octagon immortals.
“My name will probably always be linked with guys like Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell and especially Ken Shamrock,” Ortiz said. “But the fights with Forrest were as good and competitive as any of them. When I first fought him, he was inexperienced and made a name for himself in doing so well against me. The next time we fought I was supposed to be over the hill, and I showed that I wasn’t finished by long shot….I want everyone’s last image of me to be in the centre of the ring with my hand raised” said Ortiz.
“It is a huge honor to be recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time by the UFC,” Ortiz said. “To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is final proof that all the hard work and dedication, all the pain and sacrifices, were all worth it,” said Ortiz on the induction itself.
Ortiz currently holds the record for most consecutive light-heavyweight title defences though that may soon be eclipsed by current champ Jon “Bones” Jones. UFC President said this of the fighter he used to manage and his induction.
“You can’t write the story of this era of mixed martial arts without Tito Ortiz, and that’s why he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He’s been in the UFC for 15years – and sticking around that long is an achievement in itself – and now he’s down to just 15minutes at UFC 148. Believe me, I know how proud and stubborn this guy is and I expect him to use everything he has left as a fighter to go out as a winner at UFC 148.”
You can check out JOE’s interview with Ortiz a few months ago here.