Six months ago Tito Ortiz was fighting for his pride, his family and most importantly his job. Ortiz was fighting Arizona resident Ryan Bader at UFC 132 back in July. Ortiz had not won a fight since 2006 and UFC President Dana White had said this was his last shot in the UFC.
Ortiz responded with one of the best wins of his UFC career, a first round "Submission of the Night" victory over Bader to save his career.
Ortiz then filled in for an injured Phil Davis against Rashad Evans at UFC 133 in August. Although he lost, Ortiz put up a valiant effort against a top light heavyweight with less than a month to prepare.
Tito Ortiz is one of those fighters that help put the UFC on the map. Along with Chuck Liddel and Randy Couture, Ortiz is a legend in the sport. Ortiz began his MMA career in 1997 at UFC 13. He has fought all but one of his 26 professional fights in the Octagon.
Ortiz is 16-9-1 in his storied career. I say storied because he won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in 1999 and defended it a record five times before losing it to Couture in 2003. With a 2002 victory over Ken Shamrock, Ortiz broke the UFC record for most light heavyweight title defenses (5).
Starting in 2006 Ortiz hit a rough spot in his career. Dealing with injuries and feuding with Dane White, Ortiz had a stretch in his career that saw him leave the Octagon without a victory five straight times, going 0-4-1.
To his defense, Ortiz fought some of the best light heavyweights ever during that stretch: Chuck Liddel, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Forrest Griffin and Matt Hamill. Four of those fighters were UFC Light Heavyweight Champion at some point in their career.
Ortiz faces Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 140 this Saturday night. Ortiz has seen it all during his time in the UFC. He has had his ups and downs. He was once champion, and he was once released from the UFC. He now looks to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Title again, and the road to the title begins this Saturday night against Nogueira.