Tito Ortiz has presently beaten Ryan Bader at UFC 132 to finish a five-fight winless streak that revived his career, and he was taking pleasure in some time with his family when he got the call from Dana White, UFC president.
Phil Davis was injured and has to pull out of his fight against Rashad Evans in the major event of UFC 133 in Philadelphia.
Ortiz said on Bruce Buffer’s radio show, “I had a lot of stuff to take care of at home. I had been away from camp for a long time this last fight. When (the UFC) called me, I didn’t want to do it. Automatically. My first instinct was like, ‘I’m basking in the glory of just killing Ryan Bader. He’s the No. 5 guy in the world and I just crushed him, and faster than Johnny Bones’ Jones could do.’ It took me a day. It took me a day to kind of really get it in my heart and know what I really wanted to do with my career.”
Ortiz called back White after doing some soul searching.
Ortiz said, “I said, ‘Put me in there. I want to do it. I want to show you guys that I’m here as a company man. I’ve gone through some injuries. I’ve gone through some bad reactions prior in my career, but now I’m making the right decisions. I feel like I’m a new and improved Tito Ortiz.”
Ortiz came out of the Bader fight unaffected and injury free, although he still had less than a month to get ready for the fight on Saturday night versus Evans.
Ortiz said, “I’m healthy, I came off the last fight and I bounced right back into training camp again. I took a week off, which is, I think, a blessing in disguise because I was able to heal for a week. You know, just my muscles and everything. And my timing came back really, really quick. My striking is better than it was before the last fight. I’m ready for a war. I’m ready for the best Rashad, as you said, this is the best you’ve ever been, and I’m ready for that. And I’m excited for that. So there’s going to be a three-round war and if someone’s hand gets raised I know it’s going to be mine.”
Ortiz and Evans fought to a draw at UFC 73 in 2007. Ortiz would have won a decision, but he had a point taken away for grabbing the fence when he was trying to protect an Evans takedown attempt. According to Ortiz, both fighters have matured since the first fight and are much different at the stage of their careers.
Ortiz added, “My advantage will be heart, of course, 100 percent. He’s fast, yes, I’ll give him that. His professional skills are good, yes, I’ll give him that. His boxing skills have gotten better. But I’m prepared. I’m prepared for anything and everything. And I’m going to go in focused, mentally positive knowing that my hand’s going to be raised. I’m not going to explain what I think his strengths are. No reason to. I just kind of did in, I guess, layman terms for you, so you kind of understand. But when it comes to fight time I’ll show you how much better I am.”