Combate Americas is the world’s premier Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts sports and media franchise. Coming up on Saturday, December 7, 2019 is Combate Americas 51, an 11-bout fight card headlined by the "Tito vs. Alberto" main event at McAllen, Texas' Payne Arena.
The "Tito" in the "Tito vs. Alberto" fight is, of course, Tito Ortiz, the UFC Hall of Famer and former World Light Heavyweight champion. The "Alberto" is multiple-time WWE Heavyweight Champion and former PRIDE and DEEP MMA star Alberto “El Patrón” Rodriguez, also known as “Alberto Del Rio” in the WWE.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Tito Ortiz by phone on December 2, 2019 about his work with Combate Americas, training to fight Alberto "El Patrón," long-term career plans, and how he is still able to fight at such a high level more than 20 years after his debut.
A recording of the full interview to which Ortiz actually called in a few minutes ahead of schedule -- an absolute rarity for high-level professional athletes -- is embedded below in advance of its airing on the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast, while part of the interview has been transcribed exclusively for Sportskeeda.
On whether he has been training any differently than usual for his upcoming fight with Alberto Del Rio:
Tito Ortiz: No, it's been exactly the same. Sparring a bunch, a lot of roadwork, just a longer camp, just because I have to make sure that I take Alberto seriously. He is coming from the professional wrestling world, but he has a professional record in mixed martial arts of 9-5, so I've gotta take that seriously. I can't joke around, that's when guys make mistakes, that's how people lose, and I don't want to do that.
I made sure that I did my homework. I made sure I worked super, super-hard for this camp. I'm putting in a 19-week camp, the longest camp of my career. I've been very thankful to actually do what I'm doing right now.