Despite what fans might be hearing through the grapevine, former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell claims that his trilogy with Tito Ortiz is still on for UFC 115.
“I’ve heard the rumors, of course, but from what I understand, [Ortiz] is signed to fight, and he’s still going to actually have to show up and get the beating he’s supposed to get,” Liddell said on this week’s “The Ultimate Fighter 11” media call.
The TUF coaches were expected to headline the June 12th event, however it was reported earlier this month that the scrap was called off after Ortiz had mysteriously fallen ill. Immediately after the story broke, it was reported that former middleweight champion Rich Franklin had agreed to step-in to face “The Iceman” in Ortiz’ absence.
Although he would be down for scraps with Couture or Franklin, Liddell hopes that’s not the case, as he believes he’s earned the right to thrash Tito’s face after suffering through two grueling months of filming.
“I think I earned it having to put up with him for seven weeks,” Liddell said of their time on the reality show. “I earned the right to go out there and beat him. I was taking the fight as a tune-up fight, fighting a guy that I knocked out twice.
“Most of the animosity toward him was gone. I don’t really deal with him at all, so I was kind of over it. But within a week, he motivated me to want to try to hurt him – and he just continued to do that throughout the show.”
Liddell owns a convincing 21-7 professional record, however has dropped four of his last fight bouts – three of which were in knockout fashion. Regardless, the former face of the UFC intends to use a third victory over Ortiz as a springboard to propel himself back into title contention.
“I want to make another run at the title,” said Liddell. “I’m gonna beat Tito and then hopefully beat another couple of guys and hopefully a title shot after that. One more shot at going out on top.”
“The Ultimate Fighter 11” debuts Wednesday night on Spike TV at 10PM ET/PT, immediately following “UFC Fight Night 21” at 8PM ET/PT.