WATCH: Tito Ortiz Demolishes Chuck Liddell In The First Round!
Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz have engaged in one of the longest and most storied rivalries in the history of mixed martial arts. From breaking into the sport as a pair of exciting prospects and teammates, both managed by now-UFC president Dana White, the pair became two of the biggest stars MMA had ever seen in the west.
As two of the best light heavyweights of their time, it became increasingly clear that their friendship would eventually have to be put aside to allow fans to find out which man was the UFC’s best. Initially, Tito was reluctant to compete against his longtime training partner, but when Chuck publicly stated that the reason Tito didn’t want to fight him was that he knew he would lose, the fight was on.
The pair first squared off at UFC 47, and though no title was on the line, the vitriol between both men was evident. Liddell would claim first blood though, defeating Ortiz by knockout early in the second round.
The pair’s rivalry would not end there though. After earning five consecutive victories, Ortiz had earned a shot at Liddell’s UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 66, and this time the contest had truly captured the imagination of the audience, with the event becoming the first UFC PPV to have 1 million buys. Unfortunately for Tito, the increased interest did not do anything to change the result, and although he lasted longer this time, Liddell would again earn the victory via knockout.
A trilogy fight was planned by the UFC for 2010, with both men scheduled to serve as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, but an Ortiz injury meant that he was forced to be pulled from the contest and was replaced by Rich Franklin. Franklin KO’d Liddell and The Iceman retired shortly after. Tito meanwhile has remained active, fighting for Bellator and earning wins over Alexander Schlemenko, Stephan Bonnar, and Chael Sonnen.
In the 12 years since their second fight, tensions between both men have remained as high as ever and when Oscar De La Hoya announced that his Golden Boy Promotions would be venturing into MMA, the former champion boxer announced that the legends would headline his first card.
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