When UFC announcer Bruce Buffer calls former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz‘s name in Toronto next weekend, for the first time in forever, he won’t be calling out “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy.”
Ortiz, who faces Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on the main card of UFC 140, is moving on from his younger days of talking trash on opponents to build fights and putting his old moniker to bed.
He’s now fighting for his fans, his family, and for the future, putting the negativity behind him.
“No longer the bad boy, positive from here on out. I’m now the ‘People’s Champ,'” Ortiz told MMAWeekly Radio.
When explaining the change in nicknames, Ortiz says it all comes down to positivity over negativity. For years, he was known as the fighter with the biggest mouth who had no problem running down his opponents to help sell a pay-per-view.
Now Ortiz maintains his status as one of the most well known fighters in the sport, and he’s hoping to turn things around with a sunnier outlook towards the future.
“I just want to change my whole outlook on life. Being the bad boy, talking smack to sell fights, I no longer need to do that,” said Ortiz. “I’ve got three boys who are growing up and I want to make sure I’m known as someone who has given back to MMA and been a positive role model to a lot of people’s lives.”
Ortiz looked towards another legend in sports history for who he should model himself after.
“Being the ‘People’s Champ,’ the only other person I can think of who’s done the great things in their sport was Muhammad Ali. If I could walk in one of those footsteps, then I’ve done my job as a fighter and a mixed martial artist,” Ortiz stated.
Like Ortiz, Ali was obviously never afraid to speak his mind or open his mouth when it came time to sell a fight. When people talk about Ali now, though, he’s looked at not only as possibly the greatest boxer to ever live, but simply an icon of sports that’s transcended his goals as a pugilist in the ring.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion hopes to one day be remembered in a similar light, and so he’s moving on from the past as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” to just being Tito Ortiz.
“I believe so, it’s time to grow up, it’s time to mature as a man, as a father. I’ve done a lot in this sport. I know my road’s coming up short here where it’s really time to think about the future. I’ve been competing for almost 15 years; I think the longest UFC fighter in history, competing more than anybody else and for the longest record non-stop fighting in the UFC. I never fought anywhere else. No amateur status, nowhere else besides the UFC, that’s all I’ve fought and I just want to keep that positive attitude,” Ortiz said.
“Fulfill my career as a UFC fighter and look towards the future.”