Former UFC light heavyweight champions and hall of famers 48-year-old Chuck Liddell (21-8-0) and 43-year-old Tito Ortiz (19-12-1) will officially meet in the cage for a third time on Nov. 24 according to ESPN.com, and the bad blood that fuelled their memorable rivalry still looms since their battles in the octagon.
Liddell defeated Ortiz by knockout in the first two fights at UFC 47 in 2004 and UFC 66 in 2006. Now, almost 12 years since their last fight comes the trilogy, which is the creation of former boxing star and now promoter Oscar De La Hoya and his new Golden Boy MMA promotion. The stage is set for The Forum in Inglewood, California and many fans are curious to see if Ortiz can finally reign supreme.
“The Iceman” doesn’t seem to be impressed by “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s” run of 3-1-0 since unretiring in 2014.
“He’s still the same fighter he’s always been,” Liddell said to MMA Crossfire. “He hasn’t made much of an improvement and he’s still afraid of me. That’s not going to help in the fight. He’s going to be upset. I’m in great shape and I’m ready to go. It’s not going to be pretty.”
“I seen him on interviews trying to convince himself that he can beat me, that now I’ve slowed down and gotten old and now he can beat me,” Liddell added. “He’s sadly mistaken and he’s going to be 0-3 when it’s all over.”
It’s been eight years since Liddell fought in the cage. His last three bouts in the UFC were all knockout losses. But he hasn’t lost any of his confidence.
Training has been ongoing since the fight began to take shape earlier in the year, but Liddell is currently preparing his final eight-week camp, which will likely include longtime trainer John Hackleman in some form.
“I’m living down south now, not where John is,” Liddell explained. “John will be part of the program. He’s going to be helping me out with whatever I need. I’m going to be doing stuff down here. I’m putting my camp together right now, it’s turning out pretty good. I’m pretty happy with the way things have been going. John keeps an eye on my sparring which is important because he knows me better than anyone.”
One key moment for Ortiz in the last fight was a right hand that caught Liddell and backed him up. It looked like good shot that announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan picked up on, but Liddell clarified its actual impact.
“It pushed me back, it didn’t hurt me at all,” Liddell said. “He can’t break an egg with his hands on his feet. He’s got good ground-and-pound, I’ll give him that. When he gets on top, he can generate some power. He’s got decent hooks, but straight punches are still weak.”
Liddell and Ortiz are starring in a new action thriller movie called Silencer, which releases Sept. 4.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay tuned as Chuck Liddell talks with The Crossfire about his role in the movie Silencer