By Mark Elezaj
12 years, that’s how long it took for Tito Ortiz to finally get the revenge he was looking for this past Saturday night. In the third fight between two of MMA’s legends, Ortiz knocked out Liddell at 4 minutes and 24 seconds of the first round at The Forum in California.
This was Liddell’s first appearance since he retired from the sport back in 2011. From the opening bell you saw the rust in Liddell, because not only did he look tentative but he was also slow in his reactions. The finish came when Ortiz landed a straight right hand that knocked Liddell down, followed by several punches to the head while on the ground.
“The whole game plan was never to take him down,” Ortiz said. “I wanted to box with Chuck. I wanted to test his skills. You’re not taking eight years off and coming back into my cage and stopping me. Hell no.”
After a few of minutes of feeling each other out, Ortiz went in for the stoppage. He dared Liddell to swing, walked Liddell down, showed no respect for his power and landed a combination followed by a big shot that dropped his man setting him up for the win.
This was Liddell’s seventh knockout loss. He had said he wished to fight more than once, but should he lose to Ortiz he probably shouldn’t be fighting anymore.
“I was ready for this fight, I made a mistake. It is what it is. I don’t think it was my best showing, but I got in shape. I was ready” Liddell said.
Ortiz showed his opponent respect after the fight, even encouraging Liddell to continue on with his career.
“I’ve got to be respectful. Chuck Liddell, thank you for taking this fight,” Ortiz said. “You gave me an opportunity to show my skills. We’re starting a business with Oscar De La Hoya. Chuck, hey, you pushed me hard. You made me work super hard.”
“You’re a true champion, brother.”
When asked what he wanted to do next, Ortiz said “I’m done… There is nobody left I want to fight. I just want to continue to help the sports grow as a promoter. I want to help give back to the fighters.”
Liddell said he would need to re-evaluate with his team as to whether he would continue his comeback. “I made a mistake and got caught” he said.
Time is undefeated, that’s the one thing nobody can beat. I hope both men realize this. Both men are legends, both respected in the sport and they have nothing left to prove.