Tito Ortiz will have plenty of added motivation to beat Chael Sonnen when they face off inside a Bellator cage Jan. 21.
Two of MMA's most uninhibited personalities, Ortiz and Sonnen immediately went after each other in interviews and on social media when Sonnen joined the Bellator roster in September. Given their impressive resumes and where they are in their careers, it made perfect sense for the promotion to match them up.
As an added bonus, Ortiz has a history with Sonnen that goes all the way back to their collegiate wrestling careers. "The American Gangster" handed Ortiz a loss that he has been aching to avenge for years.
"He wrestled at Oregon for the Ducks, I wrestled at Cal State Bakersfield for the Roadrunners, and we wrestled on my birthday in a dual meet," Ortiz told TMZ Sports. "He used to weigh 177 pounds, I was 190 pounds, he bumped up to my weight, I didn't have a clue who he was, he was a Greco-Roman wrestler who wrestled for the Olympic team. He caught me in a headlock in the first three seconds of the match and ended up pinning me on my birthday."
The date of their Bellator 170 fight is significant as it goes down just two days before Ortiz's 42nd birthday. He's hoping for a more enjoyable celebration this time around, and a win over Sonnen would finally allow Ortiz to move on from their inauspicious first battle.
"It ruined me. It really did ruin me and I've always thought about that," said Ortiz. "What if there would ever be a chance for me to get an opportunity to get that payback, get that revenge, and he chose it. He chose his first fight in Bellator to be against me and I think he's bit off a little more than he can chew."