While the controversy continues to swirl regarding when and why Tito Ortiz left this season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” his longtime rival and opposing coach Chuck Liddell knew all along Ortiz was just using the reality show for publicity.
“I still really want to knock him out. After the [expletive] he said on [TUF 11] I really wanted to [fight],” Liddell recently told Men’sFitness. “He ran his mouth and now I get to say ‘I told you so’ to [UFC president Dana White].
“I told Dana that he wouldn’t fight me and that he was just going to use this to get on TV.”
Although Liddell vs. Ortiz is the most famed rivalry in MMA history, it’s been a lopsided beef at best. “The Iceman” holds two convincing wins over the controversial wrestler and that’s why he’s not too bummed about not getting a third tango with Tito.
“I don’t care. Honestly. I mean I’ve already knocked him out twice,” Liddell matter-of-factly stated. “All I want is, if he decides to come back to the UFC, that he should have to fight me to get back in.”
Liddell will now stand opposite former middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC 117 in Vancouver, Canada. At some point during this season of TUF, Franklin will replace an injured Ortiz as coach. It’s been reported “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” re-aggravated his surgically repaired back during filming and that was the cause of his exit.
Despite the abrupt opponent change, Liddell isn’t phased because he believes there isn’t much of a difference between the two light heavyweights.
“Other than the fact that Franklin’s a southpaw, there’s not much of a difference,” Liddell said. “I’ve had to work on my all-around game because he’s decent at everything. Him taking me down is not really a big threat, so if it goes to the ground it’s because I decided it should, but he is a much better striker than Tito.”