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Tito Ortiz ponders future in the WWE
Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz expects Forrest Griffin to be his final fight with the promotion on July 7, and he hinted his future could be in the WWE.
In his prime Ortiz defended the 205lb belt more times than any other before or after him. A devastating ground-and-pound exponent, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy became one of the most popular figures in the sport.
However, a run of injuries has led to him winning just one of his last eight fights, and it is widely expected that he will bow out against Griffin. The pair have won one fight each, so this settles the trilogy.
"It's my final hurrah, Forrest brings the best out of me and vice-versa, and on July 7 we're gonna get some late fireworks," Ortiz told ESPN.
"I've had some major surgeries but I took the fights anyway, and I've shown that I'm able to compete. A lot of athletes don't compete with injuries, but I have. Those fights with Forrest were tight, and a completion of the trilogy should be the right way to end my career.
"It's my decision, I want to leave on my own terms. I haven't been injured badly, I've got my head on my shoulders, I agreed the fight and I go out on my terms."
However, Ortiz has not completely shut the door on a UFC extension. The American admits a big win could tempt him to fight on, although a move into the WWE - where Brock Lesnar recently returned - also appeals.
"I may have another one... you never know," Ortiz said of extending his UFC stay. "But I've got a lot of options. I've seen Brock Lesnar go back to the WWE, that's something I may entertain, do some 'theatrical entertainment' as they call it.
"I've got my clothing company, my supplement line Punishment Nutrition, it's business to me. I'm not going to be able to fight for the rest of my life and I want to leave on my terms."
Ortiz has had some classic rivalries over the years, most famously against Chuck Liddell. He also won a trilogy against Ken Shamrock, but he states the Griffin battle overshadows the rest.
"This one ranks right at the top. This is over Chuck Liddell or Ken Shamrock because this is my last fight," Ortiz said. "We've both done a lot for this sport and if I'm going to end things it deserves to be Forrest I do it against."
Asked if he would consider a collision with former rival on TV show The Apprentice, Piers Morgan, Ortiz laughed: "Piers? I had my chance to get him and it didn't happen. Piers is a good guy, very crafty, but he's intelligent and smart and somebody I look up to."