Earlier this week, mixed martial arts fans were surprised to learn that Chael Sonnen had come out of retirement and signed with Bellator MMA, instead of returning to UFC. And the colorful, quotable 39-year-old “American Gangster” didn’t waste time making a splash, taking to Twitter to call out Bellator mainstay and ex-UFC standout Tito Ortiz. Now, it appears that Ortiz wouldn’t mind facing Sonnen in what could be his MMA swan song.

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Ortiz didn’t expect Sonnen to end retirement and sign with Bellator

Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Ortiz said that he had “zero heads-up” about Sonnen’s decision to sign with Bellator, and was expecting that his next, and probably last fight in the promotion would be against Fedor Emelianenko or Rampage Jackson. But a fight against Sonnen, he continued, would be more interesting due to their previous history and Sonnen's "bigger following" compared to other potential opponents.

Tito Ortiz (left) poses with a soldier in this photo from 2009. Photo c/o Wikimedia Commons.
Tito Ortiz (left) poses with a soldier in this photo from 2009. Photo c/o Wikimedia Commons.

Though Ortiz and Sonnen have both been in mixed martial arts for close to two decades, they have yet to face off in MMA competition. Sonnen, however, did pin the former during their college wrestling days. And it’s also worth mentioning that both men are among the best trash-talkers in mixed martial arts, experts at throwing shade at confirmed or potential opponents. As such, Ortiz vs. Sonnen should be a truly interesting match should it be confirmed, and a potential standout match for Bellator as a promotion.

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Could Tito Ortiz end his long MMA career with a bang?

Like the 39-year-old Sonnen, Ortiz, 41, had retired once, only to return to mixed martial arts by jumping from UFC to Bellator. He has won twice and lost once in limited action since signing with the company in 2013, and he currently has one fight remaining on his contract. It’s still unsure whether he will re-sign with Bellator once his current deal is up, but if he doesn’t, beating Sonnen will allow him to close the curtain on his fighting career in a positive way.

Looking at things on paper, Tito Ortiz may have a bit of an edge, having last fought almost one year ago, as to almost three years ago for Sonnen. His 2-1 record in Bellator is also better than Sonnen’s 1-3 record in his last four UFC fights. Then again, Sonnen did face far more formidable competition overall in those matches, as his losses came against Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Rashad Evans – all current or former UFC titleholders.

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