Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz, will end his brief retirement to face Alberto Del Rio at a yet-to-be-announced Combate Americas event later this year. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” signed a two-fight deal with Combate earlier this year, claiming once he gets through Del Rio, he wants a shot at current Bellator MMA champ-champ, Ryan Bader, in a cross-promotion title fight.
To hear Ortiz tell it, “Darth” deserves the chance at a rematch.
“I would possibly like to do a cross-promotion, this is something that I’d like to talk to Campbell about,” Ortiz declared during a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “Let’s do a cross-promotion. I know Ryan Bader is the champion at Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight. Let’s do a cross promotion, let’s do the rematch.”
Back in 2011, Ortiz defeated Bader the the first round at UFC 132 via guillotine. Since then, Bader has gone an impressive 15-3, including winning two division titles for Bellator by collecting wins over the likes of Fedor Emelianeko, Matt Mitrione and Phil Davis.
It’s that body of work that Ortiz says has earned Bader an opportunity for revenge.
“Let’s give that chance back to Bader. I am willing to give him the chance. The kid deserves it. He’s a hard-working man, he’s the champ. I respect him, and I think Ryan Bader is an awesome human being, awesome fighter, awesome father. I look up to the guy and respect him for being champion. Let’s get in there and try number two and see if I was lucky the first time,” he concluded.
Bader will next defend his 265-pound title against Cheick Kongo on Sept. 7, 2019. As for Ortiz, he is currently riding a two-fight win streak and has won four of his last five, most recently knocking out Chuck Liddell under the now-defunct Golden Boy MMA banner.
While Bellator is no stranger to cross promotion, there is no telling if Scott Coker and Co. would be interested in partnering up with a promotion that is one of its biggest ratings competitors.