Famed MMA fighter, Cal Poly graduate, and former Central Coast resident, Chuck Liddell, will square off with Tito Ortiz in “Liddell vs Ortiz 3” on Saturday night at The Forum in Los Angeles.
This is the third meeting between the two veteran light heavyweight fighters, the first two (2004 and 2006) ended with Liddell knocking out Ortiz.
Liddell, who retired in 2010 after suffering his third straight loss, announced that he would come out of retirement back in May.
Over the summer, the 48-year-old Liddell and 43-year-old Ortiz signed a contract with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions to fight in November.
No matter his age, no matter his lack of recent success, “The Iceman” says he’s more than ready for the fight.
“I’m excited to be back in the sport,” Liddell said at the September press conference. “I’m excited to prove to everyone that I’m not too old. You can do anything you put your mind to. I will be there, I will be in shape, and I will be ready. This guy is getting knocked out and I’m going to enjoy it.”
The biggest difference in Liddell’s preparation this time around is the absence of his longtime trainer, John Hackleman.
Hackleman, the owner of The Pit MMA and Fitness in Arroyo Grande, has been by Liddell’s side since 1992. It’s the first fight in which he hasn’t trained Liddell.
Liddell decided to move his camp to Los Angeles, so he kept his training there instead of coming back to the Central Coast.
Even though he’s not training Liddell, Hackleman says he’s still feeling the pressure of the big fight.
“It takes a little bit of it off me that I’m not training him even though I wish I was,” Hackleman said. “I still wish I was training him. I still wish we could go over our strategies together. Don’t forget, I had him knockout Tito twice. I’ve been there when he’s knocked out Tito twice with our strategy and me in the corner. I’ve talked to him a few times, but we haven’t talked about his fight much at all. We talk about other things.”
The “Liddell vs Ortiz 3” PPV will begin at 6 P.M. on Saturday, November 24.