Link to the article hereUFC light heavyweight Chuck Liddell says he still expects to fight nemesis Tito Ortiz – he's earned it, after all.
Liddell (21-7 MMA, 16-6 UFC), who coaches opposite Ortiz (15-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC) on the upcoming 11th season of "The Ultimate Fighter," said it took exactly one week to get motivated for a third meeting with Ortiz at the show's conclusion.
While question marks surround Ortiz's participation on the show – not to mention the location of the traditional post-"TUF" coaches' showdown – the five-time UFC light heavyweight champion said as far as he knows, it's business as usual.
"I've heard the rumors, of course, but from what I understand, [Ortiz] is signed to fight, and he's still going to actually show up and get [the] beating he's supposed to get," Liddell said today during a conference call promoting the 11th season's debut, set for Wednesday at the conclusion of "UFC Fight Night 21: Gomi vs. Florian."
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported earlier this month that Ortiz was unable to complete his filming obligations to the show and had been replaced by former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, with Franklin penciled in to face Liddell at UFC 115.
However, Liddell said Ortiz would be at the receiving end of his wrath.
"I think I earned it having to put up with him for seven weeks," Liddell said. "I earned the right to go out there and beat him."
Liddell and Ortiz have shared an icy relationship as two of the UFC's biggest stars. Once training partners, Ortiz called the "Iceman" out at UFC 37.5 after Liddell's win over Vitor Belfort and opened the door to an eventual grudge match.
Liddell went on to defeat Ortiz twice – once at UFC 47 and again at UFC 66 – which at the time were the most successful UFC events to date.
In the opening days of filming for "TUF 11," Ortiz told MMAjunkie.com that Liddell was an alcoholic who needed an intervention from UFC president Dana White to get ready for the reality show.
The statement was an out-and-out insult to Liddell, who fought White's wish for him to retire following back-to-back losses to Rashad Evans and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
"I was taking that fight as a tune-up fight, fighting a guy that I knocked out twice," Liddell said. "Most of the animosity toward him was gone. I don't really deal with him at all, so I was kind of over it. But within a week, he motivated me to want to try to hurt him – and he just continued to do that throughout the show."
Where the pair's third meeting takes place is now in question. As the call took place, a report said UFC 115, the expected home for the "TUF 11" coaches' battle, is being moved from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to Cincinnati, Ohio, as the result of administrative problems with the Vancouver City Council.
Liddell was not asked about a possible location change for the Oritz fight and did not broach the subject.
Ortiz wasn't present on the conference call and has yet to answer repeated requests for comment.
For more on "The Ultimate Fighter 11" and UFC 115, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.