Courtesy of Combate Americas
As in a scene from an old western movie, Tito Ortiz and Alberto "El Patron" Rodriguez will prove who has the fastest hands on the Texas-Mexican border when the cage doors battle this Saturday night at Combate Americas 51 – the first time that The organization is being aired on pay-per-view – not the fighter's first rodeo, but both men are trying to shape the mixed martial arts one last time before setting off for the sunset.
The 44-year-old Ortiz has made his own comeback path in recent years and may not be so convinced that he gives up, wins or loses. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" returned in style last year with Golden Boy Promotions, defeating former UFC champion Chuck Liddell in the rubber match of their trilogy. But instead of winning, Ortiz felt he still had more to offer in the sport.
"I slept Chuck on the first lap and I had an 18-week camp that was really, really good," says Ortiz. "After the fight, I felt I had more to give."
Another motivation boost? Ortiz's buddy Randy Couture, who retired at the age of 43 to win the 2007 heavyweight UFC title. Ortiz called the UFC legend to discuss his decision at the time.
He said, "Dude, I just felt like I was not done yet, I had a lot more in the tank. "That's all I needed to hear," says Ortiz. "I was fine, cool, that's something I want to do. I sat down with my family and told my boys, "Guys, Dad wants to fight" and they had a big smile on their face and said, "Dad, you can do that!" So I'm here since then. "
Ortiz admits he's not concentrating on another championship run like Couture, even though he calls a potential Combat Americas matchup with former UFC champion Cain Velasquez "interesting." But at least this weekend he just wants to entertain his fans when he enters the cage.
MMA legend @titoortiz addresses a nasty comment recently on the upcoming highly anticipated showdown with former WWE heavyweight champion and former PRIDE and DEEP MMA star @PrideOfMexico (formerly Alberto Del Rio from WWE). #TitovsAlberto #WhatSideAreYouOn pic.twitter.com/B1Ue4Rc8cc
– Combate Americas (@combateamericas), October 22, 2019
"Right now, it's all about entertainment," says Ortiz. "People want to see fun matches and be entertained. I think this fight will do that. "
For "El Patron," the former WWE star returns to MMA after almost a decade. During his time with famous organizations such as Japan's Pride in the Wild West era of MMA, Rodriguez had set a 9: 5 record, and his most notable bout ended in a knockout defeat to MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop in the first round.
Although he has many reasons to enter the cage, the main inspiration for this comeback has been to help build the organization, having worked with Combate Americas for the past six years. "El Patron" admires the fighters that the organization is developing, and wants to use its reputation to get a closer look at these talented young talent.
"I've decided to fight one last battle and give the company its first pay-per-view in history, giving these amazing children, these amazing fighters, the opportunity to pay in a pay-per-view card be, "says El Patron. "Of course I had to do it right if I wanted to do it. The right way was to fight someone like Tito, who would bring something into the company. "
Ortiz shares a similar feeling and hopes to use his clout as a renowned former UFC champion to provide a platform for the next generation of stars on the map.
"I want to give many younger people the opportunity to have the same opportunity to be on a big stage," says Ortiz. "Make the stage big and use my name for it."
Of course, "El Patron" had other reasons to record this marquee matchup.
"You know, I'd be lying if I did not say that, but the money is good too," jokes "El Patron." "They made a good offer for me."
At the end of the day, both fighters also want to consolidate their legacy to inspire friends, fans and family.
"I want to show my boys what hard work and dedication mean," says Ortiz. "My true legacy is my children."
"I will be able to leave a legacy for future generations," says Rodriguez. "Especially for me, a Mexican, a Latino, to give a living example to all those Latinos and Mexicans who dream of a fantastic life, I have to show at least a little bit of me that you work hard for it when you get away from it Dream dreams come true. I am the living proof. "