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Ortiz has credited UFC Heavyweight Champion Bas Rutten for inspiration during his early days. I'm got to say thanks to him, (Bas) for helping me out by making me believe in dreams." In 1999, Ortiz fought Frank Shamrock for what is now known as the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 22.

In February 2005, Ortiz took time away from the UFC and was offered deals with several promotions, including PRIDE Fighting Championships and the Don King-backed World Fighting Alliance.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.On August 25, 2006, at the UFC 62 weigh-ins, Dana White announced a rematch between Ortiz and Shamrock for October 10, 2006, on Spike TV, as the main event of Ortiz vs. Ortiz beat Shamrock for the third time in this fight, which was stopped in the first round due to strikes.On December 30, 2006, at UFC 66, Ortiz's rematch with Chuck Liddell (for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship) ended in defeat via referee stoppage in the third round.Still in college, Ortiz competed as an amateur for no prize money or contracts.

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