What most people thought was simply some social media banter, much like Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, is swiftly becoming a reality, as former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell insists that he is going to fight again.
Following a storied career fought almost entirely in the UFC's Octagon, Liddell has been retired for the better part of a decade. He last fought against Rich Franklin at UFC 115 on June 10, 2010. Though he was one of the most decorated fighters in the promotion's history and is a member of the UFC Hall of Fame, Liddell lost five of his last six fights, four of them by way of knockout. That precarious ending is a large reason why UFC president Dana White wanted him to retire then and wants Liddell to remain retired now.
The History Between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz
"The Iceman," however, appears intent on thawing his retirement and returning to the cage, thanks in large part to longtime nemesis Tito Ortiz.
"Tito seems to want to fight me again, so we're talking about partnering up with (Oscar De La Hoya's) Golden Boy and doing it that way. They're meeting and we're working on it, so we'll see," Liddell said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"He says he really wants to fight me. I think he thinks he can win."
Liddell and Ortiz fought twice in the Octagon with Liddell knocking Ortiz out on both occasions. The last time they fought each other was almost 12 years ago in the UFC 66 main event on Dec. 30, 2006. Though it has been that long, there is still no love lost between the two and Liddell would be happy to take money to pick up where they left off.
"I don't like him. I don't think he's a good person, but it is what it is," said Liddell.
"I'd love to beat him up again. It's the one thing I've been asked mores since I've retired more than anything, 'Can you just beat him up one more time?' People never get tired of seeing me hitting him."
Chuck Liddell is Adamant He Will Fight Again
Though Ortiz is the spark that rekindled the flame in Liddell, he insists that, as long as the right deal can be struck, he will return to the cage again whether or not Ortiz is standing across from him when he does.
"I will fight again, yeah. If we can get a deal together with somebody that makes sense, yes, (it's guaranteed)," Liddell confirmed on Monday.
“It does not hinge on Tito’s participation,” he continued.
“I miss it. I never stopped missing it. And I kind of hadn’t really thought about it much. And then when he brought it up and we started getting going, and I started training and I started doing stuff again, getting ready to try to take this on, it made me go, ‘You know what, what if he pulls out? Am I not going to fight? Am I going to do all of this and not fight?’ Oh no, we have to have somebody back it up, and if it doesn’t work out with him, I’m going to give it a shot. It’ll be somebody else, one of the guys from my past probably, most likely, and we’ll see where I’m at.”
Liddell said that he is currently targeting a "November-ish" timeframe for his return, but warned that there is still a lot of negotiating before anything is set in stone, but he is planning to fight again, whether or not his friend and former boss, Dana White, wants him to or not.
"If I can't fight, if I don't feel like I can go out there and perform, I wouldn't," Liddell said. "But I feel I can still perform, especially enough to beat Tito. I'll be ready."
In fact, Liddell's ultimate goal is much higher than most might believe realistic... Jon Jones.
“In my mind, I would like two good warm up fights, and I’d like a shot at Jon Jones. I am serious, I’d like a shot at him. We will see. Just, match styles.”