Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame during the UFC Fan Expo prior to his fight at UFC 148 on July 7th. He’ll be the ninth member of the the esteemed group and will be a confirmed Hall of Famer when he faces Forrest Griffin later that night.

Ortiz spoke on the recognition:

“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. To be able to walk to the Octagon one last time as an official UFC Hall of Fame level fighter is going to be humbling and awesome. I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to end my career on such a high like this.

“I want to thank my family for all their love and support and my fans for sticking with me through the bad times when being a Tito Ortiz fan wasn’t the coolest thing to be. Finally, I want to thank Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for giving me so many opportunities over the years and for securing the future of the sport I love and have dedicated my life to.”

Ortiz begin his MMA career as an amateur at UFC 13 in 1997 with a career that has now spanned 15 years. Ortiz became the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion in 2000 at UFC 25 as he defeated Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision. He went on to defend the title five times before being dethroned by UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 44 in 2003.

UFC Chairman & CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said:

“Tito is part of the fabric of our sport and of the history of our company. He’s given his life to mixed martial arts and gave all of us some hugely memorable moments as both a fighter and a personality outside the Octagon. He was a lock to go into the UFC Hall of Fame at some point, and I’m happy we could make this happen now so he gets to enter the Octagon for the final time as a reigning Hall of Famer. I think this will be an emotional goodbye for Tito and one final special moment for his fans.”

Ortiz talks about facing Griffin for the final time in the video below:

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