In April, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz (20-12-1) signed with Hispanic MMA promotion Combate Americas.
Ortiz, 44, captured the UFC light heavyweight title in 2000. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” defended the title five times before dropping it to multi-divisional champion Randy Couture at UFC 44.
Ortiz is well-known for his successful MMA career, which saw him face the likes of the aforementioned Couture, Chuck Liddell, Ken Shamrock, Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin, and many other notable competitors.
In recent years, Ortiz had spent time in Bellator, where he challenged unsuccessfully for the promotion’s light heavyweight title. Ortiz’s most recent fight was a grudge match trilogy against Chuck Liddell, which took place at the one-off debut of Golden Boy MMA.
Tuesday, in an appearance on the Generación MMA podcast, Combate Americas founder and CEO Campbell McLaren revealed that Ortiz will face José Alberto Rodríguez, better known as Alberto Del Rio, a former professional wrestling star and MMA fighter, in his professional debut.
Del Rio, 42, last competed in MMA in 2010. Over the course of his nine-year MMA career, Del Rio fought for such promotions as DEEP and PRIDE, perhaps most notably falling to kickboxing and MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic by way of knockout in just his sixth professional fight.
Del Rio ceased fighting professionally back in 2010 having won six of his final seven fights. Of those six wins, all six came by way of finish – five by submission.
Prior to competing in MMA or professional wrestling, Del Rio was a decorated amateur wrestler. Del Rio was a member of the Mexican national team as a Greco-Roman wrestler and was a multiple-time winner of the Central American and Caribbean Games.
As a professional wrestler, Del Rio, who also went by Alberto Del Patron, reached the pinnacle of the sport on two occasions. The charismatic entertainer was the first Mexican-born champion in WWE history.
Since his retirement from MMA competition, which appears to have come to an end, Del Rio has been involved in the Combate Americas business, earning a position as the face of the brand and the promotion’s president.
As of yet, there is no set date or location for the bout between Tito Ortiz and Alberto Del Rio, which is likely to be a main event.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.