One on One with Tito Ortiz

By James Alden


One on One with Tito Ortiz

JA: It’s a real pleasure to speak with you Tito. Before we get into questions on your fight with Chuck Liddell, can I first have your thoughts on UFC 65, Hughes vs. St. Pierre? Tito Ortiz: It seems like the PPV events are getting better and better, every fight on UFC 65 was great I thought. I thought that the most exciting fight of the night was George St. Pierre. He really motivated me, I got a lot of inspiration from him on how he picked apart Matt Hughes, and it was very impressive the way he did it. There was a lot of naysayING that said that he wasn’t that good; I think that he showed up a lot of those people. Very impressive, he looked awesome.

JA: Going into the first fight with Matt Hughes, George said that he looked up to Matt and that had a big affect on him fighting him the first time. Did you think that it would be a different fight the second time around?

Tito Ortiz: I think anybody at that age looks up to a fighter like Matt Hughes and it shows just how good of a fighter and athlete Matt Hughes is. Sometimes you can get caught up in the moment of fighting someone you respect. I got caught up with that when I fought Frank Shamrock, I respected him way too much. I didn’t step up and fight the way that I know I could have that night. The same thing happened when I fought Randy Couture, I really looked up to him, and he helped me with my wrestling. He was the heavyweight champion and then he moved down to light heavyweight to fight me. I didn’t show how much I knew in the fighting. George St. Pierre in the second fight didn’t have respect for him anymore like he did the first time around. IN his mind he knew that he was the better fighter, and on Saturday night he proved it to the whole world.

JA: The popularity of the UFC is growing. I know that you were with the UFC when it wasn’t as popular as it is now. Has your life changed due to the popularity of the sport?

Tito Ortiz: I was going on a walk today down Big Bear Boulevard and like 10 cars

Stopped- screaming at me. I go into a store or a restaurant and I get noticed. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m on TV so much. IT'S cool and I don’t mind people coming up to me. Its mind boggling sometimes on how many people watch the UFC. There are kids, young men, women and men in their 50’s and 60’s walk by me and give me a wink and say, "great job on Shamrock." The fans have really adapted to the sport because the sport is really fan friendly. I went to the Floyd Mayweather fight and it was so boring, there was no action. If I wanted to watch that I would go watch a sparring session, with the UFC there is so much action.

JA: You are one, if not the most popular fighter in the UFC. As the UFC grows, what type of responsibilities do you take on as an ambassador for the sport?

Tito Ortiz: The same responsibilities that I’ve been doing for the last 10 years now and that is educating people about the sport. Every day it seems like I have to explain to someone how the sport is growing, how the sport is run, stuff like that. The weight class that we have, the rules that we have, is great for the sport and you have to thank Zuffa for making the sport the way it is and you have to thank Spike TV for exposing the sport the way it has been. Before we didn’t have time limits, weight classes or anything like that, Zuffa came in and changed all of that. I’m doing my job by expressing how great the sport is. I’m a fan of the sport, as well as a competitor in the sport. I’m always making sure people see the positive side of the sport because there really isn’t that much negative about it.

JA: A lot of people may say that it’s too violent and that the sport should be banned. What do you say to those people?

Tito Ortiz: I think that those people aren’t educated on the sport; I think that these people watched the sport from the very beginning before we had rules. You watch a boxing match and you see someone getting punched in the head for 12 rounds, I’ve never been punched in the head 200 times in a fight. We are athletes. We compete in an Octagon where there are a set of rules that we have to abide by. I think people should get more educated on the sport before they knock it.

JA: Tell us what a typical day of training is like for you Tito?

Tito Ortiz: I wake up are 11:30 and go to wrestling/boxing, Monday-Wednesday-Friday I spar. I go back home have a little meal, then go back to the gym at 4:30 to do some weight training, go back home and get another small meal in me. From 7-9:30 I work on my ju-jitsu/ wrestling with light sparring. Then I do my road work, I get done at 10:30-11 at night.

JA: What is your motivation going into your fight with Chuck Liddell?

Tito Ortiz: My motivation going into this fight is my fans. It’s really all about the fans. I have a lot of great fans that have my back whether I win or I lose. When I become world champion, they will be right there by my side. In the beginning it was about winning the title, now it’s about beating Chuck Liddell and shutting his mouth up. I want to show everyone around the world that Chuck Liddell is human, and when I do that I will have the light heavyweight championship around my waist. I think that with great sacrifice comes great reward. I’ve been putting in a lot of work to get this world title back. I think that Liddell is dazed and confused about what really is happening, I think that he is not as hungry as he was before. I hope that he is training his butt off for this fight, because when I beat Chuck I want to earn it.

JA: How did you think you were doing in the first fight?

Tito Ortiz: I thought that I was doing a pretty decent job. A lot of people doubted my stand up and I was holding my own all the way up to the second round. I went to throw a punch and he threw a hook at the same time, when he did he caught me with a thumb in the eye, after that I couldn’t really see anything. I’m not looking to make excuses, but that is something that did happen and that just makes me more motivated for this second fight.

JA: Do you feel that you had him right where you wanted him up until that point in the fight?

Tito Ortiz: You know I had 3 ½ rounds to go and I thought that I was on a great pace in the fight. I’m ready to keep that same pace this time around but this time I will do it in greater fashion.

JA: He says that you can’t take him down. Is that something that you will be looking to do, will you stand up with him or does it depend on how the fight goes?

Tito Ortiz: It all depends on how the fight goes. I’m just going to make it exciting for the fans to watch. Maybe I can’t take him down and maybe I can, but it will be known on December 30th.

JA: How important was it for you to stay active and injury free this year?

Tito Ortiz: The biggest thing was for me to stay injury free. Having no injuries to my knees and back as helped me excel more in training. It just seems that throughout the whole year my training has gotten better, my hands are faster, my wrestling is better, and my boxing has gotten better. I think that staying fresh and staying in the Octagon has benefited me a whole lot. I think that everything is coming together for me. I’ve worked really hard and I believe that it will pay off on December 30th.

JA: The last time you fought Chuck Liddell you said you were going through a lot of stuff outside of the ring. Now that all of that stuff is in the past, is it safe to say that we have seen a more focused Tito Ortiz?

Tito Ortiz: Yeah you have to be in a good state of mind, healthy mind, great spirit, I have a wonderful girlfriend now Jenna [Jameson], who supports me to the fullest. You also have to have support from your training partners. Of course the money, the money was problem with the UFC before, but now it’s not. Now I have money. There was a lot of stuff that I was going through that really bothered me, me and my ex-wife was going through a divorce, the separation was really hard. A lot of things Were going on where I wasn’t happy. Now I’m in a good place in my life, I’m happy, I’m financially well off and in my heart I feel it, my mind is in a real good place right now, I’m not battling the demons that I was battling with before. I came to a peace with my self, I don’t have to lie to anyone anymore, and I am honest in everything that I do now. A lot of people don’t understand as a pro fighter you get a lot of negative things thrown at you, a lot of people wanting a lot of things from you, I had to be here, be there, but now all that stuff has been pushed away. I don’t have to worry about bills, I don’t have to worry about a girlfriend, and I don’t have to worry about injuries about my body. I’m very focused on beating Chuck Liddell.

JA: A lot of people don’t realize that fighters and celebrities go through problems just like everyone else does and you guys do get worn down by them.

Tito Ortiz: Yeah I will be the first one to say that I’m a very emotional fighter, so if my emotions aren’t right, how am I going to get to a gym everyday, or how am I going to push myself during weight lifting, sparring or doing road work? I believe that God has given everyone a gift, and fighting is my gift and I’m going to use it to the fullest. This will be my fourth fight this year and I’ve been busting my ass. I’ve got that “Eye of the Tiger”.

JA: Every time I see you fight, I see you listening to music. What music do you listen to and does that give you motivation?

Tito Ortiz: I listen to music to hear those key words in the songs. When I listen to Mosh by Eminem, he’s a father who came through a father less past, that’s me man. I’m a very emotional fighter, and when I listen to the music in the songs, it helps me stay focused. When I come down to the ring listening to the music, tears come down my face, not tears of anger but tears of joy. There’s 16,000 people screaming my name or cheering for me. People don’t realize where I came from. As a kid that wasn’t suppose to make it, and now all of a sudden I’m in the lime light, I’m the superstar and people look up to me for inspiration and I take that very seriously and I’m very humbled by it. God has blessed me with gifts and I’m going to use them to the fullest.

JA: A lot of kids look up to you Tito, have you ever had talks with kids telling them I was like you so don’t get down on yourselves because you can do anything that you put your mind too?

Tito Ortiz: From the very beginning I told kids that if you set your dreams high and if you’re willing to sacrifice and work hard, you can achieve anything that you want to, sometime you have to sacrifice a lot to get a little. There are no shortcuts, you have to work hard and when you work hard you will feel that sense of fulfillment. I do a lot of motivational speaking at high schools, I visit camp Pendleton a lot and I’m a huge supporter of the Marines. If it wasn’t for the United States troops we wouldn’t have the freedom that we enjoy. It’s nice not to walk down the street worrying about someone throwing a grenade under a car, or something crazy happening. We enjoy that luxury because of our armed men and women protecting us every single day.

JA: Are you and Ken Shamrock cool now?

Tito Ortiz: Yeah I and Ken are cool. Whenever I see him I say hi to him. I’m not going to take him out to dinner or anything like that.

JA: You don’t seem like the guy that likes to bad mouth people.

Tito Ortiz: It’s just one of those things where you have to get into people's minds. I have to get in their minds and see if they can handle it. It’s never personal. It's part of the business to see if I can get in their mind to see if they’re weak. It’s kind of funny when I watched the Hughes fight the other night. He kept saying that St. Pierre was not in his head if you say it that many times he is in your head. I try to follow the same thing that Muhammad Ali did and that was to try to get in people's heads, I try to win the fight before the fight has even taken place.

JA: I can talk to you all night Tito but I know that you’re a busy guy and I know that we will be talking again real soon. I know that you have a site out on the web and a couple of people that you represent now are the time to plug any of them if you would like.

Tito Ortiz: Most definitely. I would like to thank all the people who visit AND Sid who runs the site. I would like to thank everyone who supports my clothing company; you can visit the site at We have great shirts, memorabilia, great gift ideas, I know that the holidays are coming soon so it’s a great place to shop and we always have reasonable prices on the site. My sponsors are Punishment Athletics, A&G Custom Auto and Sounds from Los Angeles, American Home Mortgage. Those are the sponsors that help take care of my camps and that is the reason why my camps never have any problems, I would like to thank them so much for that. More than anything I would like to thank my fans. We are going to be world champions on December 30th.


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