We haven't seen the last of Tito Ortiz (15-5).
"The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" offered up no excuses for his loss to light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell (20-3) last night at UFC 66 during the post-fight press conference.
He was mature and humble, giving Liddell credit for beating "the best" Tito Ortiz to date.
Tito claims that he is still learning and will be back in 2007 to make another run at the title. And at 31, it appears likely that he will get at least get one more crack at the 205-pound hardware in the near future.
As for all the pre-fight trash talk and bad blood, it appears that the two fighters have a mutual respect for one another ... at least for now.
So, what's next for the two fighters?
Liddell revealed he broke a tendon in a finger on his left hand, which will put him on shelf for about four to six weeks. While he is on the mend, it will be interesting to see who emerges as the number one contender in the division.
With a loss last night to Keith Jardine (12-2-1), Forrest Griffin (13-4) has most likely hurt his chances for the opportunity to face off with Chuck in early 2007. And, I'm not sure if Liddell-Jardine is a fight that too many people will want to see next.
Rashad Evans (9-0) is a possibility, provided he takes care of Sean Salmon (9-1) at UFC Fight Night 8 on January 25. But of all the names in the hat, the one that stands out is Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (25-6), who will fight Marvin Eastman (13-6-1) at UFC 67 on February 3.
Rampage remains Chuck's only unavenged loss and he is the primary reason Zuffa purchased select contracts from the World Fighting Alliance (WFA). Chuck-Rampage 2 will happen in 2007, sometime midyear.
How about Chuck-Rampage 2 in Texas on April 7? That's a "big" enough fight I think.
As for Tito, he'll probably bounce right back and hopefully fight someone like Renato "Babalu" Sobral (27-6). The two have exchanged words — and insults — ever since Chuck beat "Babalu" at UFC 62.
Here's Tito's most recent sarcastic swipe at the Brazilian from InsideFighting.com:
"Oh yeah, because ‘Babalu' is a really tough guy. He was a 185-lb fighter blown up to light heavyweight."
(To get all the background click here).
There's been chatter that Tito could also rematch UFC hall of famer Randy Couture (14-8), who beat Tito for the belt at UFC 44 in 2003.
That wouldn't really do much to help him get back in title contention, however, so we'll have to wait and see how it pans out.
Either way, it seems that both Chuck and Tito have some exciting fights coming up in 2007 once the dust settles.
Just not against one another.