(In his next fight, Bader would like to face someone of great historical significance. Anybody got Kimo’s number? Pic: MMA Convert.)
Contrary to popular belief, the UFC middleweight division has not quite cornered the market on making strategically advantageous call-outs. While the world’s 185-pound fighters are lining up to let everybody know how much they’d all love to fight Michael Bisping – which is like so 2010 – their light heavyweight brethren are also making requests of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. It seems that at least a couple of 205-pounders have been spending some time on the “Fighters” page over at UFC.com and thinking to themselves, “Let’s see here, who can I beat?”
Ryan Bader, for one, emerged this week from whatever dark room he’s been huddled in, rocking back and forth since UFC 126 to tell ESPN.com he’d very much like to fight Tito Ortiz. Cuz, why not? Sure, just a withered shell of his former self, Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since 2006, is barely clinging to his career and seemingly can’t make it to the cage without a serious back injury, cracked skull or giant laceration over his eye, but still … fighting him would mean A LOT to Bader. You know, on a personal level.
“I would want to fight Tito Ortiz,” Bader told Brett Okamoto. “Just because I grew up watching him. I want to have one of those guys on my résumé like a Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell. Purely out of respect, he’s one I’d like to fight before my career is over.”
See you guys, Bader wants to fight Ortiz purely out of respect, which is like, so nice of him. We’re sure Ortiz will put together an appropriate thank you card and maybe a gift basket as soon as he finds out about this. Too bad while Bader was talking to ESPN, Ortiz was busy going on MMA Live to do his best to try to plan his own future. Turns out, Ortiz would like to fight the current UFC employee he last beat in an MMA fight at, uh, UFC 59.
“I was on Twitter and I heard Forrest Griffin talking a bunch of smack on me,” Ortiz told Ron Kruck. “Forrest just won his fight. We’re 1-1 against each other (and) we gave the fans an exciting fight each time. (How about me) against Forrest III, the trilogy? That’d be something awesome and I think the fans would love to see it.”
OK, so Ortiz wants to fight Griffin for the fans. Right. Even Kruckie knew that was kind of a lame answer, so he asked a follow-up question that was basically, “OK Tito, but … anybody else?” To this, Ortiz responded that he’d still like to fight the recently retired Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture, who he described as “one guy who beat me who I’d like to repay.” Oddly, Ortiz didn’t mention Matt Hamill or Lyoto Machida, who beat him much more recently.
“I want to fight some guys who have big names,” Ortiz said. “I don’t want to fight guys where I’m building them (up). No more of that. Let’s fight guys with big names.”
Now, if you were reading closely, you may have noticed that Bader also mentioned Liddell (who again, is RETIRED) and the 47-year-old Couture. Like his desire to fight Ortiz, we’re 100 percent sure Bader would only welcome a fight with Couture out of of his great respect for the history of the sport.