(“If you will it, it will come.” Some sage career advice Tito got from Jenna.)
Tito Ortiz isn’t letting trivial details get in the way of his new nickname. The fighter formerly known as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” has apparently anointed himself “The People’s Champion” even though he hasn’t been a title holder in over eight years and has only won one of his past seven fights.
“My whole legacy, my whole career depended on [the Bader] fight. I trained really hard and had some great guys around me training with me. It was almost like winning my world title. A lot of people didn’t believe in me. A lot of people couldn’t believe that I was still here. I had neck surgery, lower back surgery and a lot of athletes don’t compete after that,” Ortiz recently told ESPN. “I showed that I’m able to compete against the best guys in the world, and I think that will help show people that if they believe in themselves, if they believe in their dream, they can accomplish anything. That’s why I changed my name to ‘The People’s Champ.’ I want everyone to know that I’m here for the fans. I want them to know that they can bounce back from anything.”
We’re not sure if Tito is trying out some of that new age visualization stuff that Jon Jones pulled when he signed autographs “UFC light heavyweight champ” prior to winning the belt from Shogun at UFC 128, or if Tito is just sick of being called “the former champ.” In the MMA world, that’s as bad as being called a washed-up has-been.