“We need to run it back!” Tito Ortiz wants to fight fellow UFC hall of famer Chuck Liddell for the fourth time, or so this inflammatory tweet makes it seem.
The two UFC all-time greats have previously fought three times. Liddell claimed the first two, resoundingly defeating Ortiz with brutally efficient strikes at the height of both men’s careers. Ortiz, on the other hand, was able to knock Chuck Liddell out the last time they met, and it seems like he hasn’t quite had enough of “The Ice Man” just yet.
CLASH OF THE TITANS? Tito Ortiz Calls out Chuck Liddell for FOURTH bout
This rivalry hasn’t been without drama, however. In their first fight, Ortiz pushed the referee, Big John McCarthy, into Liddell, a massive faux pas in combat sports. Liddell, for his part, dropped Ortiz, ending their first meeting with a TKO. However, Ortiz has since claimed that Liddell gouged at his eye with his thumb, temporarily blinding him.
The drama between these two titans of MMA is not to be underestimated, as their second bout was, at the time, the UFC’s most financially successful fight of all time. In the years since, MMA superstars like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov have eclipsed the relatively niche fame enjoyed by the sport’s early champions. For fans of the sport, a rematch between two icons of the early UFC is certainly an enticing prospect.
Liddell himself is now over fifty years old, and considering that Ortiz brutally knocked him out in their last meeting, likely isn’t interested in returning to the Octagon. Both men have already experienced the dizzying heights of a championship-winning career in the UFC. With nothing left to win – and the risk of serious brain injury to boot – it’s unlikely that Chuck Liddell will ever return to the Octagon against a serious challenger.
The UFC has remained hitherto uninterested in the novelty bouts that have gripped boxing in recent years. There’s been no MMA equivalent to Tyson’s exhibition match against Roy Jones, Jr, or the infiltration of the YouTube personalities Logan & Jake Paul into the boxing ring.
The UFC is a thoroughly different beast in 2021 than it was when these men were at the height of their careers. It’s more commercial, more modern, and more concerned with its public appearance. The sight of two middle-aged men mauling one another isn’t the branding the UFC wants any more, in spite of its storied history with Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
What do you think? Will the UFC take the offer to bring back two legends of the sport, or has the modern fight game moved beyond Liddell and Ortiz?