Liddell has 'earned right to punch' Ortiz
Story by Anthony Springer Jr.
As a new edition of Spike TV’s hit reality show, The Ultimate Fighter gets under way, all eyes will be on this season’s legendary coaches who happen to not be too fond of each other.
Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz will stand at opposite ends for the eleventh installment of the series that launched the careers of some of the UFC’s biggest stars. And true to what has become a TUF tradition in recent seasons, the two are scheduled to square off this summer.
Though Liddell defeated Ortiz in their two previous bouts (UFC 47 and 66), “The Iceman” is looking forward to another opportunity to put a beat down on the trash talking Ortiz. In fact, Liddell believes he’s entitled to do just that.
“I think I’ve earned the right to punch [Tito],” Liddell stated on a recent UFC conference call. “I want him bad.”
With Liddell-Ortiz III still several months away, Liddell says that side comments from Ortiz have only given him more motivation to train. In addition to typical pre-fight banter, Ortiz took several personal jabs at Liddell in recent months, implying in several interviews that the San Luis Obispo fighter is a recovering alcoholic.
“It’s bad enough to talk about someone’s personal life, but to make something up like that? He’s just a scumbag.”
Liddell has stayed largely above the fray in regards to the back and forth, but makes it clear that he plans to make Ortiz pay for everything said in the run up to the bout.
“That’s more motivation,” Liddell says of the trash talk. “I was looking at him as a tune up fight. I knocked him out twice. I had no animosity towards him anymore. Now he pissed me off enough; I’m not training for a tune up fight, I’m training to hurt him. I would’ve trained hard, but it’s a lot easier now.”
In fact, if one were to accuse Chuck of trash talking, it won’t be because the former UFC light heavyweight champion is taking personal shots at Ortiz. It will instead be because Liddell is completely dismissive of the idea that Ortiz poses a challenge.
“He never posed a threat to me, so I guess he’d be more of one now, “Liddell said in an assessment of Ortiz’ abilities. He’s never presented much of a threat to me, other than getting a lucky cut or something I don’t see what he can do to me.”
After suffering losses in four of his last five bouts, Liddell is out to prove that he’s still got the “it” factor that took him to the top of the UFC’s most competitive division. He makes no secret about the goal of his second act: another UFC light heavyweight title. For fans looking forward to the resurgence of Chuck Liddell, it may be a second act to remember.
For Tito Ortiz, who’s scheduled to stand opposite a motivated Liddell in the Octagon, not so much.
“I want to make another run at the title…I want one more shot at going out on top. I can still beat anyone in the world.”
Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter premieres tomorrow on Spike TV immediately following UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi.