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Tito Ortiz is back with the UFC, no debut date set


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Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in UFC history, has returned to the organization.

During a media conference call today, UFC president Dana White confirmed Ortiz has re-signed with the organization. No debut date has been set, but Ortiz hopes to fight before year's end, and White said it could be against Mark Coleman.

While the news would have been shocking months ago, both White and Ortiz recently hinted that a new deal was in the works.

Last week White issued a message on Twitter stating, "Welcome back Tito." During a radio interview later that night, White simply said Ortiz returning to the UFC is "a possibility" but did confirm their long-brewing feud had been squelched and that they had "made up." On Thursday, Ortiz posted a MySpace bulletin saying a big announcement that would "be made today" that would clarify his future.

"Dana came to me ... and apologized to me," Ortiz said. "For me personally it was about competition. (The UFC) is the best show in the world. That's why I'm here."

White was happy to bury the hatchet.

"I think the fans are as over the Dana-Tito bull [expletive] as we are," he said.

Ortiz, who underwent back surgery earlier this year, hasn't competed since a decision loss to Lyoto Machida in May 2008. Vowing never to fight in the UFC if White were still in charge, Ortiz has claimed he was close to signing deals with EliteXC, Affliction, Strikeforce and a few other players over the past year.

Despite the layoff, Ortiz (15-6-1 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) remains one of the sport's most recognizable stars and one of the top pay-per-view draws in MMA history. Although winless in his past three fights, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" faced three current and former champions (Machida, Rashad Evans and Chuck Liddell) during the stretch. The veteran fighter, who won the UFC light heavyweight title with a September 1999 victory over Wanderlei Silva, made a record five consecutive title defenses before a loss to Randy Couture in 2003.

[mma junkie]

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This is good news as far as I'm concerned. His fight against Machida was Machida's toughest fight to date and Tito almost submitted him! If works hard on getting fight fit, he could be a serious player at LHW.

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