Earlier this week it was confirmed that UFC legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz had agreed to a trilogy fight under Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy promotion. If the fight comes to fruition it will mark the first time The Iceman has competed since 2010, when he lost to Rich Franklin via KO at UFC 115.
Glover Teixeira is a long-time friend and training partner of Liddell. The Brazilian helped prepare the former UFC light heavyweight champion for a number of his historic fights in the UFC before making a name for himself within the promotion. Today, Teixeira is ranked third in the 205 lb rankings.
Bloody Elbow caught up with Teixeira to ask him about Liddell’s return to fighting. “I mean, I’m happy for Chuck whatever his decision is,” he said. “In my opinion; the guy’s a professional. He’s done a lot. I don’t think he needs to fight anymore. He’s proven himself a bunch of times. If he doesn’t fight anymore he’s already proven that he’s one of the best of all time.”
“But if his decision is to fight again, then I support him,” continued Teixeira. “I’ve already told him, ‘If you need me, I’ll be there for you my friend,’ and that’s it. If he needs me, I’ll be there. I’ll be helping him getting ready to fight Tito again.”
Liddell and Ortiz own one of the most storied rivalries in UFC, and possibly MMA, history. The first chapter of their bitter rivalry unfolded in early 2004 when they met at UFC 47: It’s On! In the main event, of a card that saw Nate Diaz take out Robbie Lawler and Andrei Arlovski crumble Wesley Correira, Liddell got the better of the Huntington Beach Bad Boy; finishing him in the second round with a blitz of punches.
The pair met two years later at UFC 66, atop a card featuring Keith Jardine, Forrest Griffin, Chris Leben, and Michael Bisping. The fight ended in a similar fashion to the first one. In the third round Liddell landed one of his signature combinations against Ortiz, who slumped to the foot of the cage. Some ground-and-pound later and the fight was waved off.
In 2010 Liddell and Ortiz were matched up for a third time in the UFC. That year the two fighters donned TUF jerseys to coach the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter. However, a neck injury forced Ortiz off of the show. Rich Franklin replaced Ortiz on the show and at UFC 115, which would be Liddell’s last appearance in the Octagon.
With Liddell holding an 0-2 record over Ortiz, Teixeira isn’t enthusiastic about the idea of a trilogy fight.
“There’s going to be good promotion and everything, but Chuck has won two fights so it’s like he doesn’t need to prove anything against Tito anymore, you know?” said Teixeira. “I wish he would fight somebody else, because they already did this two times. And it’s a big chance for Tito, but Chuck is confident. If that’s the fight that he wanted, if that’s the fight that made sense for him, like I said, I support him.”
Teixeira added that no matter who the opponent is, we could trust Liddell to be in fighting shape when the cage door closes. “He’s going to be in shape,” promised Teixeira. “I know the guy — he’s not going to take this lightly. He’s going to be training hard. He’s going to be doing his thing.”
Though ESPN confirmed the fight had been agreed upon by Liddell, Ortiz, and Golden Boy; that outlet did not have details about when and where the fight would take place. Teixeira’s next fight was scheduled for July 22nd at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Smith in Hamburg, Germany. However, his opponent — Ilir Latifi — has since been pulled from the bout, due to injury.