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Tito Ortiz close to signing four-fight deal with Strikeforce, possible first bout with Babalu in October

titoortiz1It’s been over a year since we last saw “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-6-1) compete in an MMA fight. After losing to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 in May of 2008, Ortiz decided to part ways with the UFC and hasn’t seen any action since.

According to Ortiz, he’s about to become the latest member of the Strikeforce family.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion was a guest of honor at last night’s UCFC “Clementi vs. Jensen” show in Pittsburgh at the Mellon Arena. In between fights, Ortiz entered the ring and announced to the crowd that he was extremely close to signing a four-fight deal with the Strikeforce promotion. Not only that, but he also mentioned that he could face Renato “Babalu” Sobral at a Strikeforce event in October.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was when Ortiz announced to the crowd that if he does sign the four-fight deal with Strikeforce that he would like his fourth fight to be a catchweight bout against the #1 heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko.

At one time, Ortiz was considered one of the best fighters in the world. Upon making his MMA debut at UFC 13 back in 1997, Ortiz compiled a 5-2 record with the company before defeating Wanderlei Silva for the UFC light heavyweight title.

Ortiz went on to hold the belt for three years before losing to Randy Couture at UFC 44. Since then Ortiz has had a very rocky relationship with the UFC and it’s owner, Dana White.

After losing to Machida last year, Ortiz decided it was time to move on with his career. Since then he has appeared as a “special guest” for multiple MMA promotions such as EliteXC, Strikeforce, and Affliction. He has also mentioned a number of “rumored” deals with other MMA promotions in the past, but nothing has yet to come to fruition. Perhaps this time we will finally see the return of one of MMA’s true “bad boys”.