Although former UFC light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell holds two convincing wins over Tito Ortiz, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is convinced the third time will be the charm.
“I’m a lot better, I think. Mentally, I’m in a better place,” Ortiz said at The Ultimate Fighter 11 media day. “The times I fought Chuck, I was in a bad place. I just didn’t want to be there. I felt like I was being pressed into something I didn’t want to do. This one is something that I’m excited, focused for.”
Ortiz suggested he was pushed into taking fights in which he wasn’t healthy enough to do so, however didn’t want to risk disappointing his fans by pulling out.
The controversial wrestler underwent successful back surgery in October 2008, and although he fought pain free for the first time in years, the former champ dropped a narrow split decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 106 in his last outing.
The back procedure apparently affected Ortiz’s memory as well because Mr. Jameson doesn’t even remember his two “losses” to Liddell.
“I don’t think about that,” Ortiz said of the defeats. “I think of that in the first one [UFC 47], I got poked in the eye. I think in the second one [UFC 66] that they prematurely stopped it. I was ready to fight. I was still fighting after that fight was over. I was pissed because I was defending myself. My arm was up, and his punches were landing off my forearms.
“When you’re intelligently defending yourself, they say the fight stays. Well, I was defending myself. Yeah, I got hit with a couple of shots before, but I was aware of everything. I thought they prematurely stopped it.”
Ortiz’s recollection of the two monumental bouts may not be agreed upon by many, but what isn’t up for debate is the 0-3-1 record he’s posted in his last four outings.
The two are slated to square off as soon as they fulfill their commitments as coaches on the 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”