Chuck Liddell (30-8, 20 KOs) will make his long-awaited return to mixed martial arts competition when he faces off with arch-rival Tito Ortiz (19-12-1, 8 KOs) in a three-round main event on Saturday, Nov. 24 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The fight will be presented live on Pay-Per-View beginning at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET.
Liddell has been preparing for his comeback under the coaching of Antonio McKee at Team Body Shop and recently sat down to discuss why this was the right time to return to MMA competition and how the trilogy fight against Ortiz came together.
Liddell fought his last fight against Rich Franklin in 2010. It was his third knockout loss in a row and UFC President Dana White had seen enough and wanted Liddell to retire. “When I left the sport, I had just changed my training,” Liddell said. “I was doing things differently. I was starting to improve everything. I made some mistakes and kind of got pushed out. So, I wasn’t finished. I can’t ever think of one thing about fighting that I don’t miss. I miss everything about it. I like training. I love going to the gym every day. I like cutting weight and getting ready for a fight. When I make weight, it means I get to fight the next day. I love walking to the ring, and I love fighting.”
Liddell was a full-blown superstar in his day and a lot came along with the fame and notoriety that may have detracted from what got him to the dance in the first place. Liddell said things have changed a lot since then though.
“My lifestyle has changed complete this time [compared to when I was fighting],” he stated. “I changed the people around me and the environment around me. Everybody is working toward the same goal. I’ve got my family. I’m with them all the time. For this camp, I’m stepping away and getting my attention on this fight. I’m going to be in Tito’s hometown, Huntington Beach, Calif. I’m doing this to prepare for this fight. I’ll be missing my kids, but I’m going to take that out on him in this fight on Nov. 24.”
Liddell and Ortiz have a long history and have fought twice before. The first time at UFC 47 in 2004 Liddell stopped Ortiz in the second round via knockout. They rematched at UFC 66 two years later and Liddell stopped him via TKO in the third round that time. Liddell commented on their rivalry.
“I don’t hate Tito. I don’t care enough about him to hate him,” Liddell said. “I don’t like him. I don’t like the person he is. I don’t like the way he treats people. I’ve heard stories since we’ve fought about all the things he’s done to people. Screwing over training partners. Screwing over business partners. It’s the way he treats people. He’s got no class. You saw him at the press conference. He’d talk when I was trying to talk. It’s classless. If he’s trying to sell a fight, that’s great. But that’s not it. That’s really the way he is. Tito is Tito. It’s not an act. He’s an ass.”
Although Ortiz has been still been actively competing and winning in MMA as recently as his submission win over Chael Sonnen in Jan. 2017, Liddell does have two wins over him and is confident he can do it one more time. MMA betting is big business and can be compared to betting on Premier League on sites like bettingodds.com. Oddsmakers are actually favoring Ortiz in the trilogy fight against Liddell. Who do you think takes it?
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions