Jiu-Jitsu and MMA lesson from Tito Ortiz, as he heads into retirement

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Tito Ortiz in photo taken by Josh Hedges during pre-UFC 140 open training in Toronto.

Superstar Tito Ortiz smiles during pre-UFC 140 open training in Toronto. Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa.

Tito Ortiz, as he told his buddies at MiddleEasy.com, wants one more for the road.

The ex-light heavyweight champion of the UFC, who turns 37 next Tuesday, wants to have his final MMA fight on the July 4 weekend, preferably against Forrest Griffin or Chuck Liddell.

“I hope to fight on July 4 and then wrap up my career. That will be the time to go,” said the “Bad Boy of Huntington Beach”. “It could be with Forrest Griffin. Or would anyone like to see me face Chuck Liddell? Who knows? I’m going to get together with Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White next week to work it out. We’ll make my last fight something memorable,” he added.

With 16 wins in his 27-fight career, the Californian star has faced a Who’s Who of the MMA world, winning against the likes of the aforementioned Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Ken Shamrock; and coming up short against Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida, as well as the also mentioned Chuck Liddell between the years 2004 and 2006.


The greatest lesson Tito will leave Jiu-Jitsu practitioners doesn’t have to do with technique. We could bring up the triangle he sunk on Lyoto, missing a splendid opportunity to finish or, if he’d kept his calm, to mount. Or the bronze medal won at ADCC 2000, when he was already a UFC star and waded into the grappling mix against guys like Matt Hughes, Mike Van Arsdale and Rumina Sato, stopping only at Ricardo Arona. (Watch Tito vs. Rumina Sato below.)

Or we could underscore the two submission holds from the superstar’s career, which always featured safe movement on the ground. But the lesson left by Tito, the man who successfully defended his belt five times between 2000 and 2002, is otherwise.

Tito Ortiz dove into his career with the momentum a practitioner should in going for a sweep, or when there’s a stray arm in the cross hairs. If you’ve made up your mind, if it’s your objective, go for it. Even if that implies abdicating certain things, like security or comfort. If you’re going to do it, go all the way. If you go all the way, be authentic and do it with style.

That’s what Tito had in mind when he went and became a fighter to be remembers, one who spoke out and even called out Dana White when he felt he was in the right, and who will never be seen as a Pete Sampras, the brilliant tennis player with a charisma deficit.

If you’ve ever rooted for Tito Ortiz before, as you surely must have, there’s no problem. Now you just have to get inspired by what he did right, and we bet that come July 4 at least part of you will be there egging him on.


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