Unfortunately, in light of recent events, two of MMA’s most-beloved stars, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, are falling deeply in the rankings following losses. Both these guys have been unable to show any of the dominance they once had when they stood on top of Light Heavyweight mountain. One can certainly ask, is it time for them to retire?
The answer is yes, but not yet.
These two were scheduled to face each other after the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter Season 11, but "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" dropped out due to surgery. Ortiz was replaced by Rich Franklin, who ended up Knocking out the Iceman in the fight.
Most recently Ortiz took on Season 3 TUF veteran and former “Student” Matt Hamill. Ortiz lost by unanimous decision. Considering both these men are on losing streaks, it could be feasible to arrange a fight between them.
I know that many may say they should hang up the gloves right now. But money talks, folks, and these two former champions will not quit fighting unless forced to.
The Iceman had dropped five of his last six fights, four of them by knockout. In his most recent fight against former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, we saw glimpses of the old Iceman. He showed a lot more versatility in his strikes, even breaking Franklin’s forearm.
Regrettably the Iceman got too aggressive with his strikes and ran into a big right hand from Franklin. But the old Iceman was back, he just committed too much to his strikes.
Chuck’s ability to stay calm, slipping in with counter-strikes and waiting for his opponents, is what he needs to rely on in future fights. In his fight with Rampage, Rashad, and Franklin, the Iceman was too aggressive with his attacks and fell to powerful counter punches. Keith Jardine mixed it up better than Liddell in their fight, and Shogun is Shogun.
From his performance at UFC 115, I truly think that the Iceman is capable of one last foray in the Octagon, but he might need to change things up and be a little more cautious.
He deserves to fight Ortiz.
"The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" dropped four of his last five fights, most recently against Matt Hamill. Like Chuck Liddell, we were seeing improvements in this fight, as he was mixing up his strikes better and came into the fight with a ton of confidence.
But Hamill used his improved striking as well as his wrestling to shut down Ortiz and win decisively. All of Ortiz’s losses have come from decisions, except the TKO victory Liddell scored over him back in ’06 and a draw against No. 1 contender Rashad Evans--which he could have won had he not grabbed the fence during the fight.
Ortiz has shown improvement, but he has not shown he can still stand in the top ten. This is why Ortiz/Liddell 3 has to happen.
One of two things would happen. Either Ortiz would leave with a W, which could improve his ranking. Or Liddell would have an opportunity to retire in style with a victory under his belt (and the opportunity to punch Tito Ortiz in the face again).
Whether or not he chooses to keep fighting, I will always remain a fan of the Iceman. So I say one last time, "Ortiz/Liddell 3: make it happen!"