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Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans express excitement, humility in anticipation of UFC 133

Two former UFC light heavyweight champs will take to the cage on August 6 in Philadelphia without a drop of “brotherly love” between them, as outspoken stars Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans are scheduled to headline an event featuring a number of great match-ups despite a series of injury issues leading up to the show.

Ortiz and Evans were on hand today for a conference call with media and Five Ounces of Pain was on the line. Read ahead to see the numerous interesting soundbytes and nuggets of information the talented 205ers offered up…

Tito Ortiz:

– Refers to East Coast fans as “die hard”
– “I’m gonna fight with my heart and soul and do what I do.”
– Was “on top of the world” after beating Bader and initially declined the Evans fight because he missed his family, was enjoying being around them
– Reconsidered the match-up after giving it more thought in terms of how healthy he felt and what an incredible opportunity it was to help Dana White / “I wanted to show what a businessman I was and I stepped up.”
– Was never in jeopardy of pulling out after his recent fender bender, that the only thing that scared him was the fact his son was in the car at the time
– Says Evans has matured a lot and improved tremendously in the cage since the first time they fought
– Mentions numerous times how much better he feels in terms of health now in comparison to the past
– Loves fighting in Philly as a “huge Rocky fan”
– Doesn’t concern himself with “win-win” or “lose-lose” situations; that he’s a fighter, it’s his job to fight, and he’s going to do his job at UFC 133
– “I’m ready for a war. I’m ready for the best Rashad has ever been.”
– “My advantage is my heart. I’m prepared for anything and everything. I’m going in focused, mentally positive, and knowing that my hands will be raised.”
– Plans to retire before 40 but will keep fighting until then with a goal in mind of getting another title around his waist again
– Looks at his career as though he’s paved the way for guys like Evans who know how to sell fights to media and throw down in the cage
– Is thankful for the commitment Dana White and the Fertitta Brothers have shown towards the UFC
– “Jon Jones is great. I hung out with him at the UFC Summit and he’s a cool guy. He’s a big threat. That’s why he’s the world champion.”
– Was 100% confident in his ability to beat Bader regardless of the odds, felt the TUF winner didn’t want to fight him / “I didn’t know I was gonna knock him down and submit him but I knew I was gonna stop him.”
– Never planned to be a MMA fighter / Intended to be a HS wrestling coach
– “Frank Shamrock is a great fighter and a great champion.” / Says he’s a lot better than Ken Shamrock, that “he’s the one who has got skills”
– Says the Bader fight feels like it was a year ago
– Was thinking “Finally! Thank God! All the hard work paid off!” after beating Bader / “My heart was so touched just knowing I was still one of the guys on top.”
– Is learning to adapt to the new generation of fighters

Rashad Evans:

– Very anxious to get back in the cage / “Being out for 14 months was hard for me to do. I had no idea I would be out this long but things happen.”
– Expects to see a very good, energized Ortiz
– Credits Ortiz with improved striking over his past few fights but isn’t worried / “For the most part what I need to worry about is my own execution. As long as I execute it doesn’t matter what Tito Ortiz does.”
– Wants to take his time, be patient, and not rush so he can re-acclimate himself to the ring after such a long layoff
– Calls this bout “one of those fights you want to get back”
– Says training has been great and he “couldn’t be happier” with his new camp. “Coming from Greg Jackson’s camp I was not thinking there was another situation in line with that one and was pleased to find out things here are good.” / The gym has “great energy, great training practices, and is fun to be in.”
– Doesn’t believe there is a reason for him to ever go back to Jackson’s MMA
– Hasn’t ever been to Philadelphia but also loves “Rocky” and also a fan of Philly fighters like Bernard Hopkins / “It’s great to fight in a city that has great fighting history.” / The energy he gets from fans that knowledgeable lifts him up
– Being in a new camp has allowed him to not only experience new techniques than he did at Jackson’s but also gives him more one-on-one time with trainers
– “To be part of the Ultimate Fighter was truly a great experience” and says it essentially made his career
– Looked up to guys like Ortiz and Liddell when he was first getting into MMA while in college
– “This sport has grown a lot but it isn’t done yet.”
– Doesn’t want to talk about the LHW champ / “I don’t like Jon Jones. There’s really nothing more I can say about him.”
– Having as much time off as he has allowed him to get his body healthy and shake some nagging injuries beyond the knee issue
– Fourteen months out of the cage has made him hungry / “I’ve been having dreams about it – I just want to get back in there and fight!”
– “There’s nothing like having that fight, having that win, and then going back to regular life like nothing happened.” / Refers to the “out of body” experience of listening to people talk to you about your performance / “It’s just something I can’t wait to get back and have again.”

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC