44-year-old former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz recently signed with Combate Americas, once again staving off his retirement. Of course, it’s not like he hasn’t been thinking about hanging up the gloves.
In fact, the former champ has retired several times over the last few years — though none of those retirements have stuck.
Speaking to MMA Fighting recently, Tito Ortiz explained why he decided to continue fighting under the Combate Americas banner. Apparently, a call with fellow UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture — who also fought well into his 40s — played a big role in his decision.
“I’m feeling great and I’m able to do it physically and mentally and I think that has huge value to it, but I love the sport, I love training, I love seeing how my body forms from the beginning to the end of camp,” Ortiz said.
“After my last fight with Chuck Liddell, I went from being in okay shape to being in a type of shape that I was in when I was 23 years old. People see the weigh-ins and every time my body structure is almost the same and it’s just because of how hard I push myself. But you have to be in the right mind space, you have to be in a positive environment because it helps us fighters compete. But really, I’m just happy, I’m content, I like to get in the gym and train, I like to push myself.
“After the Chuck fight, I came to this fork on the road of which way I go right now. Do I go in the business stuff and make decent money or do I go the other way and do something that I love, and still do the business stuff, but do the thing that I love and get in shape and compete. I had to call Randy Couture and ask him the same question, ‘When you were 43 years old, what made you want to comeback?,’ and he said, ‘Well, Tito. I really felt like I wasn’t done, I felt like I could give so much more,’ and that’s all he had to tell me and I was in.”
Tito Ortiz continued:
“My mentality, my mindset, my body, my life, the people surrounding me, the positive reenforcement I get, all that motivates me and inspires me because I don’t want to look back when I’m 50 years old and wish I would’ve continued fighting when I was 44, so I can end it on my own note, the way I want it.”
Tito Ortiz is expected to fight former pro wrestler Alberto Del Rio in his first fight under the Combate Americas banner. Stay tuned for details on that.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/22/2019.