Tito Ortiz knows well by now what
Forrest Griffinbrings to the octagon, and leading into the last fight of his 15-year career, there is one meta-goal driving his gameplan.
"I've just got to make sure he doesn't get on his bike and let his confidence level build each and every round," Ortiz told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Because the type of fighter Forrest really is is a confidence fighter. If the confidence is shut down, he shuts down.
"So I'm going to try to do that early in the fight."
Ortiz (16-10-1 MMA, 15-10-1 UFC) and Griffin (18-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) fight a rubber match for bragging rights in the co-main event of UFC 148, which takes place Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event's main card, including Ortiz vs. Griffin, airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
The two split a pair of bouts at UFC 59 and UFC 106 with Ortiz taking the first and Griffin taking the second, both by split decision.
Ortiz, who conducted the interview from his house in Big Bear, Calif., said he hasn't changed much in training for the third fight, which follows his official UFC Hall of Fame induction on Saturday before UFC 148. But as he often notes before matches, he feels healthy leading into it.
"When I fought (Antonio Rogerio) Nogueira (at UFC 140), I wasn't prepared," he said of a first-round TKO loss that prompted more calls for his retirement. "I didn't train as hard as I possibly could.
"This one, I'm prepared. Physically, mentally, I know I can go 15 minutes at 100 percent without having any problems."
The former UFC champ said that wasn't the case against Nogueira. Ortiz said he got slammed on his head in training for the fight and re-aggravated a neck injury he suffered prior to a fight with former champ
Rashad Evans, which resulted in two herniated discs in his neck. He cut 28 pounds in two days to make weight for Nogueira.
"I felt like I was going to die," Ortiz said. "I'll never do that again."
Ortiz, who requested the fight with Griffin as a retirement bout, said he'll cut this time from 224 pounds and anticipates he'll lose approximately 12 or 13 pounds on fight week.
In their first meeting, Ortiz took a decisive lead against Griffin with his patented ground and pound, but he lost momentum in the second and narrowly outstruck the winner of "The Ultimate Fighter 1" in the third. The second meeting also was close with Griffin again giving up takedowns but performing better in most of the striking exchanges. In both fights, there was a dissenting judge on the victor.
Ortiz said he doesn't expect the fight to go the distance but wouldn't be surprised if it did.
"I'd like for it to be over," he said. "But if I dwell on it being over quick, it usually goes the distance. If I say it's going to go the distance, it's usually over quick. So you never know.
"I would love to get it over quick, but Forrest is a tough guy."
For his final fight, Ortiz, whose message-laden T-shirts are a hallmark of weigh-ins, said he has a special shirt and walkout planned for the fight. He'd like to enjoy himself when the cage door closes, but expects he won't.
"Every time I go into a fight, I try to relax and have fun," he said. "But it never happens. It's just automatic killer instinct."