Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz believes his return bout with Alberto Del Rio set for later this year is not just a one-off appearance back inside the cage. Instead, Ortiz wants to make a run at becoming a champion once more.
Ortiz will take on Del Rio, who now goes by Alberto El Patron, at an event put on by Combate Americas on December 7 from Texas. The event will air on pay-per-view and take place at a catchweight.
"I'm here, I'm back," Ortiz told MMA Fighting. "I'm not going anywhere any time soon. The last fight against Chuck Liddell has reinvigorated my career completely. It made me want to compete. It make me want to get in the gym. It made me do what I love, and that's compete. I love to compete.
"This is just a stepping stone for something in the future. I would like to get a bigger fight, but this is a big fight for me."
Ortiz has won his last two fights, knocking out Liddell last November and scoring a submission vs. Chael Sonnen in 2017. El Patron is 9-5 in his MMA career with the former WWE champion having his last match in 2010.
"I would like to chase after a world title after this," Ortiz said. "I know Ryan Bader is the heavyweight world champion and the light heavyweight world champion of Bellator. I would like to go after that light heavyweight belt and give him a chance at redemption when I beat him back in 2011."
Ortiz earned a first round submission win at UFC 132 over Bader.