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Report: Ortiz gearing up for return in October/November

New, 19 comments's Mike Sloan spoke with Tito Ortiz and the former UFC light-heavyweight champion said he's received his doctor's release to slowly but surely return to the gym after undergoing surgery to relieve a bulging disc between his C6 and C7 vertebrae. The injury forced Ortiz to pull out of his scheduled UFC 115 bout with Chuck Liddell.

Now, Ortiz is lifting weights and slowly beginning to travel the road back and has gotten his weight up to 220 pounds from 200.

"July will really be the test for me because I'll be wrestling and stuff and starting to get into it," he added. "On July 1, I'll start doing jiu-jitsu and start drilling. Nothing live -- just drilling to get my body back into shape."

Ever the optimist, Ortiz plans on winning back the light-heavyweight championship he hasn't held since losing it to Randy Couture nearly seven years ago.

"I have five fights left with the UFC," said Ortiz. "I started my career with the UFC and I'm going to end my career with the UFC. After these next five fights are over, maybe I'll take a step back and see what I'm going to do after I defend my world title after I win it."

I think it's safe to say Ortiz has quite the mountain to climb to recapture "his" title. Unfortunately, it appears Ortiz's injuries are catching up with him, leaving his days as a high-level fighter in the past.