Couture Talks Liddell-Ortiz III
When it comes to Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, there are very few people who can explain them as well as Randy Couture can.
All three have fought each other at least once during their various UFC tenure’s, with Liddell and Couture facing off three times, and Ortiz facing Couture once.
Liddell and Ortiz square off for a third time on November 24th in a card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in their first effort in MMA. When asked age would be a factor in the fight (Liddell at 48 and Ortiz at 43), the former UFC heavyweight champion is less concerned than it being Liddell’s first fight in nearly a decade.
I’m not too concerned about the age, honestly,” Couture said. “I fought right up until where Chuck’s at right now, at a high level. My only concern with that is that Chuck hasn’t been competing, hasn’t been sparring, hasn’t done anything in the fight realm other than regular strength and conditioning for the last eight years, since he retired.
“So that puts the pressure on him to get back up into fight shape, back up and get the timing back to where we’re used to seeing Chuck have going into a fight. He had that style where that timing was very, very important. It wasn’t that he was the biggest, strongest or best athlete. He had a very unique timing, to find you right on the end of one of those long levers and make it a short night. Now, whether he still has that timing, that’s the question.”
Ortiz has been active, fighting Chael Sonnen in 2017, and while he would retire after the fight, “The Natural” feels Ortiz is more prepared for what may come.
“He’s been in some big fights with Bellator,” Couture said. “He’s been very active — he’s still in fight shape and in fight mode. So it’s gonna be interesting.”
“The onus is always on the guy who won the first,” Couture said. “Obviously, the first two fights Chuck won. What’s he gonna change? What’s he gonna do? The real hard question is what kind of shape or what kind of timing is Chuck gonna bring into this fight after being off for the last eight years? So I think the challenges are really there for Chuck Liddell. Is he capable of getting in there and getting it done? Yeah, absolutely. I think anybody who knows the sport is crazy if they count him out. But I think he’s up against it a little more than Tito is.
“Tito has been way more active, had some big fights. Will he be able to go out and implement his game plan? Which has gotta be getting in Chuck’s face, finding a way to get Chuck on the ground and take some gas out of Chuck. Certainly not standing and trying to trade with Chuck and find out if he does have that timing. I think it’s gonna be interesting.”
“I think they’re still huge names, both of them,” Couture said of Liddell and Ortiz’ drawing power in the sport and Golden Boy placing them in the main event of their first MMA card. “Marquee names. Names that anybody who’s a fan of this sport recognizes. And maybe this is the start of the masters division of MMA.
“I’m hoping it’s successful for both these guys and the promotion, because it doesn’t hurt to have more options, more places for fighters to go and be a professional fighter.”
Initial Report: MMA Fighting