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He defeated the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Ryan Bader, Evan Tanner, Chael Sonnen, and Ken Shamrock three times.
Ortiz was born in Huntington Beach, California, where he lived until he moved to Santa Ana, California at the age of five. His father is of Mexican descent and his mother was born in Hilo, Hawaii, of English ancestry.
At UFC 44, after a near year-long layoff from the sport, Ortiz fought the new Interim Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture, who had defeated Chuck Liddell for the interim title at UFC 43 in September 2003. The loss ended Ortiz's near three and a half year title reign, which was the longest Light Heavyweight Championship reign until Jon Jones won his sixth victory while maintaining the Light Heavyweight Championship on September 21, 2013.
Following his loss to Couture, Ortiz faced Chuck Liddell at UFC 47, losing by TKO in the second round.
Ortiz and fellow fighter Fabiano Iha even hired investment banker Stan Medley to take a new league, The Xtreme Fighting Championship, public. Ortiz opted to try his hand at professional wrestling, signing with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as a guest referee.
Despite dominating Mezger at first, Ortiz lost the fight at in the first round by a guillotine choke submission.
He also owns an MMA training gym called Punishment Training Center, which is located in his hometown of Huntington Beach, California.
On July 7, 2012, Ortiz became the ninth inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Ortiz then avenged his loss to Mezger at UFC 19 by TKO.
Ortiz's post fight antics towards Mezger and the Lion's Den led to his long running rivalry with the team's leader Ken Shamrock. People were just so scared of fighting him, he was like the man. If I train as hard as he does then one day I'll be as good as him and two years later look where I am, I'm on top of the world.After six months off, Ortiz returned and took a unanimous decision victory over newcomer Patrick Côté at UFC 50 and a split decision over Vitor Belfort at UFC 51.