by: Kelvin Hunt
If the reports are true, then Tito Ortiz is back on the market as a free agent. A few weeks ago Ortiz told Sports Illustrated that he had signed a ground breaking deal with Affliction. However, that story turned out to be false with new reports that Tito Ortiz is again negotiating with the UFC. If Ortiz does in fact sign with the UFC, recent bouts have proven that he is not a top tier LHW anymore. The only marketable matches left for him in the division is a rematch with Wanderlei Silva, and a rematch with current champ Forrest Griffin. Ortiz isn’t even close to earning a title shot, so a match with Wanderlei Silva is the only big money fight for him there.
Ortiz has always been a huge LHW fighter standing around 6’2″ and walking around at over 220lbs. In fact, he has commented that he would move to the HW division if the money was right. The UFC HW divison is relatively thin, and adding a name like Ortiz to the mix would give it a much needed boost. The relatively weak division would also give Ortiz the fast track to a title shot. Here’s a list of possible matchups:
Tito Ortiz vs. Cheick Kongo-This is a fight that Ortiz could possibly win by taking advantage of Kongo’s wrestling game.
Tito Ortiz vs. Gabriel Gonzaga-Another fight in which Tito could grind out a possible decision win.
Tito Ortiz vs. Frank Mir/Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira-Both Mir/Nogueira will be coming off of a huge amount of exposure from TUF 8. Both are submission specialists and Ortiz hasn’t been submitted in a LONG time. With Ortiz hyping this fight the way he normally does, either fight could do decent PPV #’s.
Tito Ortiz vs. Brock Lesnar-The granddaddy of them all…this matchup would do HUGE PPV numbers
Ortiz could fight the likes of Thiago Silva, Sokoudjou, and Brandon Vera but I don’t if he wins any of those fights. The move to HW would essentially keep Ortiz relevant in the fight game and breath new life into his career. The UFC could also choose to match Ortiz up with some of the up and coming HW’s like Cain Velasquez and Shane Carwin. Those guys adding a name like Ortiz to their resume would make them an overnight stars. I’m sure White would get a kick out of that, with the bad blood between he and Ortiz.
All in all I think that’s the best move for Ortiz at this point in his career. Stay tuned to PRO MMA as we keep you updated with the Tito Ortiz sweepstakes.