Chuck Liddell: Fighting a Teammate Is Nothing Personal

Mike HodgesCorrespondent IApril 17, 2012

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Chuck Liddell has been involved in his fair share of rivalries.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion had some grudge matches during his reign over the 205-pound division, including a title defense against former training partner Tito Ortiz.

Their rivalry went on to break pay-per-view records and cement Liddell's legacy as one of the greatest UFC champions of all-time. 

Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, who are set to meet this weekend at UFC 145, have drawn similar comparisons to Liddell and Ortiz's rivalry.

While appearing on "The MMA Hour" earlier this week, Liddell was asked to break down the upcoming title bout.

"What's interesting about this fight is that the (betting) line is 6-to-1, which is shocking to me, because I don't think it's that kind of fight," Liddell said.

"Even if it was a long time ago, if Rashad was getting the better of him in (training) ... sometimes that's in the back of your head when you go into a fight. Even if you're a different fighter now and you've gotten a lot better, it's still in the back of your head that this guy used to beat me and I haven't messed with him since."

One of the biggest ongoing topics in the sport today has been teammates competing against each other.

It's been a controversial topic, to say the least, and it has forced some fighters to avoid it altogether, either by switching training camps or moving to another weight class.

Liddell had trained with Ortiz long before the two competitors squared off in the Octagon and "The Iceman" never shied away from competition whether it was against a friend or not.

"If (a teammate) can beat me, they can beat me. They deserve to fight me then. I'm not going to hold back some guy that's in my camp if he wants to fight me. That's not my thing," he said.

Jones and Evans' war of words has certainly intensified over the past year, and whether they can resolve their differences and remain friends following this weekend remains to be seen.

But Liddell said there should be nothing personal between the two fighters.

"It's just a personal choice and a personal opinion, but I think eventually, hey you guys are going at it, then go out and have two beers together afterwards," he said. "Go out there and prove who's best that day, and go out and be friends again."