Who Could Be the Next Tito Ortiz for the UFC?

Tito OrtizIn the realm of UFC history, Tito Ortiz certainly was original.

No he wasn’t around during the time of the first UFC events that Royce Gracie ruled with an iron grip, but Ortiz was without question the first “rock star” of the Octagon.

A fighter who knew how to combine his aggressive and attacking style in the cage with persona and charisma outside of it, Ortiz was the original star of mixed martial arts long before pay-per-views reached one million buys.

But now just days away from his final fight at UFC 148, Ortiz is about to step into the UFC Hall of Fame, retire and pass the torch he helped light on to the next generation of competitors.

While you can point to names like Georges St-Pierre as fighters who may be as popular or wrestlers like Mark Munoz who have taken ground and pound to another level, it’s the combination of fighting ability and star power that may make one fighter the next Tito Ortiz.

“I guess Jon Jones would be that guy just because he’s young. I know he has a lot to learn, he makes mistakes as all of us humans do, make mistakes, and hopefully he can learn from those mistakes,” Ortiz said about the UFC’s reigning light heavyweight champion when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.

“But he’s a really good guy. I spoke to him on a few occasions and he’s just like all my friends, very cool, very collected, an awesome athlete and if I did want to see someone beat my record I would want to see Jon Jones doing it.”

The record Ortiz is speaking about is his consecutive title defense streak in the UFC light heavyweight division. It currently stands at five defenses and Jon Jones has already defended his belt a total of three times in less than a year’s time.

While there can never be another Tito Ortiz, he believes that Jones is the fighter that will help carry the UFC into the next 10 years and beyond.

It’s certainly a daunting task for the current champion, but if he’s able to have the same type of success or even surpass Ortiz, Jon Jones will truly be something special for the UFC and the world of mixed martial arts.

Follow @DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon Martin.
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