By Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Tito Ortiz competed only one time in 2007; in a draw against The Ultimate Fighter season two-winner Rashad Evans at Ultimate Fighting Championship 73 in July. After some time away from fighting, healing injuries and filming the television series “The Apprentice,” Ortiz expects to return to the Octagon in May 2008.
“My last fight, before I fought Rashad (Evans), I wasn’t 100 percent, and I just wanted to make sure if I ever fight again I’m going to be 100 percent,” Ortiz told MMAWeekly.com “The back injury that I sustained kind of hindered me for fight time. Now it’s a lot better, and May will be my next fight.
“I spoke to Lorenzo (Fertitta) and it looks like … they’re going to wait until May, so the next Cinco de Mayo weekend will be Tito Ortiz’ next fight.”
His career has been plagued with injuries. Ortiz needed surgery to repair torn ligaments in his knee prior to his UFC 40 bout with Ken Shamrock in 2002. A nagging back injury suffered in training for his UFC 44 match with Randy Couture in 2003 has been a nagging issue. He entered the Octagon with a heavily wrapped knee against Forrest Griffin at UFC 59 in 2006.
“I really want to fight at 100 percent. I’m making these guys look good when I’m not 100 percent,” said the former light heavyweight champion. “When I had the draw with Rashad, I should have never done that. I should have beaten him. But it’s all right; we’ll do it again.
“I just want to make sure I’m 100 percent before all of my fights so I don’t let any of my fans down when I lose or if I get a draw or something like that because I felt like I let my fans down and myself down. I don’t want to let that happen.”
By the time May 2008 rolls around, ten months will have passed since the draw with Evans. With his opponent not yet named, Ortiz is focused on training and coming in 100 percent healthy.