Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell threw down for the third and likely final time on Saturday night, and in the opinion of one of the competitors at least, it put an end to one of the most famous bitter rivalries in MMA history.
Ortiz headed into the matchup with Liddell at Golden Boy MMA: Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 full of confidence despite losing their first two fights under the Ultimate Fighting Championship banner, and proved to be too much for the 48 year-old “Iceman,” knocking Liddell out cold late in the first round .
At the post-fight press conference, Ortiz said there was no more animosity between the pair.
“Yeah, I’ve buried the hatchet with Chuck 100 percent,” Ortiz said. “You guys got to understand, I’m a loyal person. I love my friends. I’m an Aquarius to the tee. If you guys read horoscopes or so forth, read what an Aquarius is. I am exactly that person. I will fight for every one of my friends. I will honor my friends. I keep my word on everything I have. There’s two things I’ll have for the rest of my life: my name and my word. I’ll never tarnish my name, and I’ll never not keep my word. And with Chuck, he was my bro. He was my homie. He was my friend. I thought he was my friend, but I understand that money gets in the way of people’s eyes and what they should think about. And that’s the evil of all humans, I think, is money. And I guess we can say that we stood in the middle of that cage tonight, and it’s cool. It’s over. Done.”
Having said that, Ortiz appeared to leave the door open for a fourth fight. “If [Liddell] doesn’t want to be done,” Ortiz added, “maybe we’ll give him another opportunity.” However, Ortiz’s focus appeared to be on his own next career steps, beyond fighting in a cage himself.
“You get that feeling of, ‘Is this the last one?’ I want it to be,” Ortiz said. “It’s a lot of pressure; to impose your will on someone like that every single fight is really, really hard. There’s so much pressure to do that. And I’ve been doing it for 21 years. Now, if I just step out of that game and do it the right way of being a promoter and helping fighters, help them [grow]. And grow the next Tito Ortiz, grow the next Chuck Liddells, grow the next ‘Rampage’ Jacksons, Royce Gracies, Ken Shamrocks, Conor McGregors. And give them an opportunity to make the real money to make.”