The legendary rivalry between mixed martial arts (MMA) legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz will come full circle later tonight (Sat. Nov. 24, 2018) live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., when the two meet for a trilogy fight 12 years after their last encounter.
Despite the long gap between matchups, which currently has “Iceman” up 2-0, Liddell and Ortiz still share the type of bad blood that lasts a lifetime. Throughout the years, the two combat legends have bashed one another verbally, physically, and emotionally, en route to forging one of the biggest rivalries in MMA history.
As Liddell and Ortiz gear up for their trilogy fight later tonight live on PPV under the newly-minted Golden Boy MMA promotion, they set some time aside to reflect on their ever-lasting clash for supremacy.
“I don’t care enough about him to hate him,” Liddell told MMAjunkie earlier this week. “I think he’s still sleeping at night jealous of me about what – he thinks I took what he should have had. He should have been the poster boy for the rest of his career and he thinks I took that from him. And I think he really thinks about it.
“He wants this fight so bad, said he came out of retirement just for me because he wants it so bad to beat me.”
Remember, Liddell and Ortiz ultimately went different ways in their careers following their second fight at UFC 66 back in 2006. Liddell compiled a dismal 1-5 UFC record following that victory before calling it quits in 2010 after a knockout loss to Rich Franklin. Ortiz, on the other hand, fought top contenders in UFC until his promotional departure back in 2012, in which “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” parlayed his popularity into a lucrative stint with Bellator MMA.
That was until Ortiz retired last year following a submission win over Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170.
“He was the one who called me out – I was enjoying retirement,” Ortiz said. “But I think he needed a big fight, he needed to make some money. And the only way he had a big fight was to fight me. It’s a big rivalry. But once he said something like that, I was like, all right, let’s get it together.
“It was only going to be Chuck. Only Chuck. No one else. There’s no one else to fight. There’s no one else who I dislike as much as I do Chuck. It’s just one of those things, man, it’s time for redemption.”
As for Liddell, this is the opportunity he’s been waiting for since exiting the fight game on a three-fight losing streak nearly a decade ago. The former UFC light heavyweight champion is certainly a shell of his former self at the age of 48, but fighting a familiar foe like Ortiz should allow “Iceman” to get back into the groove of things quicker than usual.
“I had offers everywhere,” Liddell said. “A lot bigger guarantees to fight anybody I wanted to pick. I could pick anybody. They didn’t care. The name, whoever I fought, they didn’t care. But I chose this over that because I think it’s a fight my fans want, and I think for me, it’s a closest thing to a tuneup fight that’s got a name to it that there is.”
Despite his past success against Ortiz, which includes two equally devastating knockout victories, Liddell still finds it difficult to tolerate his biggest rival. That doesn’t mean “Iceman” will enter his trilogy fight with Ortiz later tonight with elevated emotions, but it does mean he’ll try to put a little extra mustard on a potential finish.
“When I fight, I’m not an emotional fighter,” Liddell said. “He’s a very emotional fighter, I’m not. I’m very calculating, and I’m a vicious fighter. I am really trying to hurt you bad when we fight. But, as soon as it’s over, I hope you’re OK. Him, maybe not – just kidding. But I’m going to try to hurt him.”
Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 main card will start at 9 p.m. ET live on PPV and FITE.tv. MMAmania.com will deliver results and play-by-play for the entirety of the Golden Boy card.