Late last year, former WWE champ Alberto Del Rio stepped into the Combate Americas cage for a scrap with former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. Despite his efforts, Del Rio was soundly beaten by the UFC legend.
Speaking to MMA Junkie in his first interview since the fight, Del Rio reflected on this tough loss.
“I was very upset, and people are never going to know what goes on in the mind of a fighter or athlete after losing a fight,” Del Rio said. “You have live another battle because you have to deal with the fact that you lost in a fight, that there’s a better man than you, that you trained so hard for so many months and that wasn’t enough.
“But after processing the loss, I felt good about it because I trained hard, I gave it my all in the training camp. It was tough adapting to the cage and I think a lot of people don’t understand that it’s night and day fighting in a cage as opposed to a ring. It’s completely different.
“And all that time away from MMA and since MMA has evolved a lot when I used to fight in Japan,” Del Rio continued. “You could win many fights with just wrestling and ground and pound, but now everyone has a good base in wrestling, striking, and grappling. So if I would’ve came back and had more time to prepare, maybe the result would’ve been different. But I leave happy, I didn’t have any major injuries from the fight, I don’t think I looked bad against a legend like Tito Ortiz, and I leave mixed martial arts happy. I’ll just continue growing talent with Combate Americas and keep doing what we’ve been doing from the beginning.”
Despite the decisive nature of his loss to Ortiz, Del Rio is confident he could have won the matchup.
“I think I could’ve won that fight, I really do,” Del Rio said. “I made some mistakes with the strategy. but once again the would’ve doesn’t exist. Ring rust is real and it was there. I made two big mistakes and with someone as experienced as Tito that’s deadly.”
What do you think of these comments from Alberto Del Rio?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/14/2020.