Ortiz doing two-a-days in Vegas with Couture; Hughes taking St. Pierre seriously; Lawler at 195
By Joe Hall
Tito Ortiz recently arrived in Las Vegas to complete the final four weeks of his UFC 50 training camp. The former light heavyweight champion had been training in Huntington Beach with Team Oyama and at the No Limit gym in Irvine, California, before traveling to Nevada.
"I’m just trying to focus myself by coming out to Vegas," Ortiz said over the phone Tuesday night. "I couldn’t really focus at home."
Already in Sin City was current UFC light heavyweight champion Randy Couture. "I came out to Vegas because Randy Couture’s out here," said Ortiz, who added that he’s had problems finding training partners in the past. Ricco Rodriguez, Dean Lister, John Lewis and Muay Thai coach Master Toddy are currently helping him prepare in Nevada.
Ortiz is training twice a day with Couture and company and then lifts and blasts through a cardio routine at night. If you can’t beat them, then learn from them is the credo governing Ortiz’s training with Couture. He followed the same philosophy after Frank Shamrock stopped him at UFC 22. Shamrock’s superior conditioning prevailed that night, and Ortiz learned later the mechanics of never-ending cardio from the man himself.
He figures he can now learn the finer details of superior wrestling from the man who took him down five times at UFC 44. "I think I’ve learned a lot from (Couture) so far, and he’s learned something from me too," Ortiz said. "He’s a person I look up to, and I really respect him as a man and as a fighter. And I don’t really respect many fighters."
Couture won’t be with Ortiz throughout the camp, though, due to his obligations with the UFC reality television show. The training sessions are a returned favor after Ortiz helped Couture prepare for his match against Belfort last month, Ortiz said.
Ortiz remains on good terms with Team Oyama and said that he will continue training with them in the future.
ORTIZ VS. BELFORT?
UFC President Dana White has stated on record that regardless of whether Ortiz defeats Guy Mezger on Oct. 22, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" will face Vitor Belfort in Japan on Dec. 12.
Speculation has centered on whether Ortiz will fight on such short rest, however, and whether it’s wise to plan a show around a fighter who could easily be injured and unable to compete. At this point, Ortiz is essentially saying cross your fingers.
"I’ve already pretty much verbally agreed to fight Belfort," he said. "It’s just a matter of it happening and us fighting in Japan. Hopefully I don’t get injured during the fight with Guy or before the fight while training. It’s just a matter of everything going smooth, how it’s supposed to be, and you’ll see Tito Ortiz versus Vitor Belfort on December 12 in Japan."
Maybe, maybe not.
QUICK UPDATE ON UFC 50 COMPETITORS
- Known for not always training hard, Matt Hughes said Tuesday that he’s "training like (opponent Georges St. Pierre) is the world champion." If Hughes weren’t training hard, though, he probably wouldn’t admit it. Not until after the fight anyway.
- Asked how his training is going, Georges St. Pierre replied "Oh my god." The Canadian said he began training in July and will have put in nearly four months of strict dieting and preparation by the time he walks into the cage for his welterweight title fight against Hughes. "I swear, you’re going to understand when you see me," he said. "I’m going to be a new Georges St. Pierre."
- Robbie Lawler, who is moving up from the welterweight class (170) to fight as a middleweight (185), was walking at about 195 pounds as of Wednesday afternoon. His punches will pack even more power at 185, he said.
- Trevor Prangley leaves his home in Idaho on Monday to travel to San Diego with his friend, UFC veteran Josh Thomson. They’ll spend a week there training with Ken Shamrock, Guy Mezger and company before moving up to San Jose, where Prangley will finish out his training camp with Crazy Bob Cook, Javier Mendez and Dave Camarillo at AKA.
- Prangley’s opponent, Ivan Salaverry, is not preparing under Matt Hume at AMC Pankration in Washington. He’s actually in California training Bob Sapp, who’s currently working on the movie, The Longest Yard, a remake of the 1974 football flick that starred Burt Reynolds. Salaverry will spend his entire training camp in California and has been preparing with Maurice Smith, Josh Barnett, ground technician Eddie Bravo, and Frank Trigg and company at the R-1 gym in Los Angeles.
- Jorge Rivera has not yet began training at maximum intensity, but says he will shortly. "I don’t want to peak too early, so I haven’t gone full tilt yet, but I’m getting there," he said. "I’m feeling good right now. I feel strong; I feel good." The middleweight was walking at about 202 pounds as of Wednesday afternoon. He was confident his bout against Rich Franklin would take place, and end, on the feet.
- UFC newcomer Patrick Cote likes his chances on the feet against K-1 veteran Marvin Eastman. In fact, he doesn’t think Eastman will stand with him and won’t be able to handle the Canadian’s hand speed if he does. "I’m not sure he wants to trade with me," Cote said. "But if he wants to do that, don’t worry. I’m not worried about that."
- "If (Cote) wants to go toe-to-toe, I’ll gladly oblige him," replied Marvin Eastman. "We can lace ‘em up and see what happens…. I don’t talk smack. I let the opponent talk smack. I just go in there and do what I have to do because an ass whoopin’ humbles anybody."
- Tra Telligman had the dangerous tone of a fighter with nothing to lose when he was reached Wednesday. "I don’t even care anymore," he said. "I’m just having fun. I love to fight. I’m out to have a good time…. If I win a couple fights, maybe (the UFC) will give me a shot at something. Maybe not. Who knows? But right now, I don’t even care. Literally, I like to fight. It makes my heart beat; it makes me feel like I’m living."