By Simon Samano/@sjsamano
For FOX Deportes
For Tito Ortiz, his upcoming encounter next week at UFC 148 against Forrest Griffin has been business as usual.
Even though the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” will retire after this fight, he isn’t just going through the motions. He wants to win.
“I just want to dominate this fight,” Ortiz recently told FOX Deportes at his home and training camp in Big Bear, Calif. “I want to show how good I truly am with my hand raised and walking away on my own terms.”
This has to feel different, though. After all, this is it for Ortiz. The former light heavyweight champion will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame next weekend prior to calling it a career after 15 years in the octagon. And yet nothing has changed.
Ortiz, like he’s done for so many years, has spent weeks in the altitude of Big Bear preparing to fight. He’s been training hard two, three times a day. Retirement has been far from his mind.
“I don’t put it in my head that it’s my last one,” Ortiz said. “I put it in my head that it’s my fight that I need to win, that my back’s pressed against the wall, that I’ve got to survive, and that I’ve got to get my hand raised.”
Ortiz has all the motivation in the world, too.
He and Griffin have split their two previous fights, with Ortiz winning by split decision in April 2006 and Griffin returning the favor in November 2009. This one is to settle the score.
There’s also the fact that Griffin recently said he would “retire from life” if he loses to Ortiz. Talk about an insult.
Ortiz, though, doesn’t need anything extra to get him amped up for the final fight of his illustrious career.
“I’ve always been a guy who does this for his family, doing it for my fans, doing it for myself,” Ortiz said. “I came from nothing, and I‘ve achieved so much in my life that I’m living the American dream. And I’m very, very lucky. From a kid whose parents were drug addicts, living on the streets, living in hotels, living in cars, and being able to achieve this much success. …
“I don’t need to hear what Forrest has to say. It’s not about Forrest. This is about me. If he says he’s going to retire if he loses this fight, then he better put on his retirement shoes. I’m not going to lose.”