UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell has long been teasing a return to the cage, but now, it's no longer an issue of "if he will return," but just a matter of when and against whom.
Liddell on Monday revealed during The MMA Hour that, at 48 years of age, he fully intends to come out of retirement and fight again. His initial target is a big-money, trilogy bout with Tito Ortiz, who also said he is willing to come out of retirement to fight Liddell again. The two have fought twice before with Liddell handily winning both.
But Liddell insists his return doesn't hinge on Ortiz's participation. In fact, he believes he can once again compete at the highest levels and ultimately believes he could challenge the man many consider one of the greatest fighters to ever set foot in the Octagon.
“In my mind, I would like two good warm up fights, and I’d like a shot at Jon Jones,” Liddell told MMAFighting. “I am serious, I’d like a shot at him. We will see. Just, match styles.”
Liddell zeroing in on Jones like that, of course, elicited a Twitter response from the former UFC light heavyweight champion, who, said, “Old Chuck has been calling me out for years! I get it, I hold pretty much every record in the division. I normally try to respect my elders but if you want it come get it. I’d literally fly you out to Albuquerque this weekend.
“You might want to test the strength of that jaw before you take a bite you can't chew.”
Not one to leave well enough alone, Jones continued taking jabs at Liddell, who has often been critical of Jones' outside-of-the-octagon transgressions.
"In all seriousness Chuck Liddell, I appreciate your offer for a fight, but due to scheduling conflicts, may not be able to fulfill till mid 2019," Jones said, again via his Twitter handle. "In the upcoming months, I have similarly lethal opponents in Ric Flair and George Foreman awaiting."
After Jones' latest barb, Liddell got a little bit more serious.
"Jon Jones, I figure it’s a good place for a youngin' like you to learn from a true legend and champion on how to really fight and conduct your life inside and outside the ring."
Though things are heating up between the two former UFC champions on Twitter, it is highly unlikely that they'll ever set foot in the cage with one another.
Jones is still adjudicating his latest UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, so it's unclear when he might event be eligible to fight again.
Aside from that, Liddell isn't likely to ever be welcomed back to fight in the UFC. Company president Dana White has been adamant that he no longer wants to see Liddell fight again. Plus, Liddell's comeback is probably going to happen in conjunction with boxing promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who has been talking to him about a fight with Ortiz to kick off his Golden Boy Promotions' foray into mixed martial arts.