‘If I lose to Tito, I'm going to retire from life. Seriously'
~ Forrest Griffin – June 2012
As a matter of fact, what has Ortiz ever done quietly while he's been in the UFC?
That's why when the former light heavyweight champion heard about Griffin's comments about their third and final fight, Ortiz figured maybe it was just his time to walk away from the sport as well.
“I'm excited for the fight. Forrest is a tough guy and I know he's training really hard. I just heard a little thing saying that if he loses to me he's going to retire. Well, it looks like he better put on his retirement shoes cause it's going to be an exciting fight and I plan on having my hand raised,” Ortiz said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.
Ortiz and Griffin have battled twice before, once in 2006 and once in 2009, with each of them coming away with a split decision victory over the other. Now the three-year cycle of fights comes to a close with UFC 148 where Ortiz and Griffin battle one last time.
Their first two fights were both back-and-forth affairs with Ortiz gaining an upperhand at times only to find Griffin battling back. You'd imagine after 30 minutes in the cage together that the surprises would be at a minimum at this point, but Ortiz says you never know what might happen.
“It may be something new that happens during the fight, may be something old that happens in the fight, but it's going to be exciting. I respect Forrest and I think he's a great competitor, but I'm putting in the work so I get my hand raised,” Ortiz commented.
“I think this fight will be Fight of the Night.”
The plan when UFC 148 is over is for Ortiz to hang up his gloves and retire from the UFC a winner, a former champion and a Hall of Famer. But will Ortiz have a little twitch of regret should he go out and put on a masterful performance against Griffin?
Will there be just a slight shade of doubt that creeps in if Bruce Buffer is announcing his name as the winner to maybe just go one more fight?
“I don't want to do that. I don't want to overstay my welcome. I want to leave on my own terms. If I blast through Forrest, and get it over quick, there's always going to be that guess, like yeah I still have it, but people got to understand it's not the fight I prepare for. It's the training I prepare for. It's the grueling six days a week, 5 or 6 hours a day, of over and over getting up every day and going, ‘Oh god, what am I doing to my body. I'm hurting, my legs hurt, my neck hurts.' It's a mental strain on you,” Ortiz stated.
“I think it's time to move onto a different chapter of my life.”
But if things go his way and judging by Griffin's pre-fight comments, Ortiz might have another fighter joining him in the “gold watch” club when UFC 148 is over.
“Maybe it's time for Forrest to retire; maybe he wants to retire,” said Ortiz. “Maybe he's just letting everybody know that he's going to retire. For me, I know I'm retiring, but it's an idea, I'm going out and I'm winning the fight.”