Even after retirement, UFC Hall-of-Famers Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell have continuously broached the idea of a trilogy fight. In June of last year, Liddell even posted a photo of himself in a face-off with Ortiz bearing the caption “Why not?”, seemingly teasing a third fight.
“The Iceman” recently went on record saying a comeback at 48 years of age is “still a possibility.” Ortiz, on the other hand, was blunt about being interested in a trilogy fight but was at the same time skeptical about Liddell being medically cleared.
“I have a lot of interest level,” Ortiz told TMZ Sports (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Actually, on New Year’s, I asked the matchmakers for the UFC if they’d ever want to do a Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz III and he kind of looked at me and laughed and said, ‘Chuck couldn’t pass to fight again. He’s been knocked out, unconscious, five times.’ I guarantee you the doctor won’t give him a license.”
Ortiz, now 43 years old, last fought at Bellator 170 in January 2017 against Chael Sonnen, where he won via first-round submission. While he says he does not really want to make a comeback, he is willing to do so just to be a “good friend” to his former rival.
“I thought of it just because I was pumped because of the UFC in general, being back in the house, but I don’t know. I would like another go at it,” Ortiz said. “I left on a high stool of choking Chael within two-and-a-half minutes. My body’s fine. I know Chuck Liddell’s been knocked out unconscious to the point where they had to give him the smelling salts to make him feel better but he’s looking to be a paycheck.”
“I understand it. I have other businesses, and it’s not a hurry for me to fight,” he added. “I don’t want to fight, I don’t need to fight, but if Chuck needs to, I’ll be a good friend like he was once and give him a payday.”
Ortiz and Liddell were supposed to have their trilogy fight at the end of their coaching stints at the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2010. Ortiz, however, pulled out before the season ended due to a neck injury, and was subsequently replaced by Rich Franklin, who ended up knocking Liddell out into retirement at UFC 115.