Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell MMA Fight Announced by Oscar De La Hoya

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 30:  (R-L) Tito Ortiz punches Chuck Liddell at  UFC 66 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 30, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Oscar De La Hoya has announced Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz will fight a third mixed martial arts bout later this year through Golden Boy Promotions, per ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto.

De La Hoya said in a statement, "I'm proud to announce we've signed a deal for the fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. This will be huge for sports fans around the world. Ortiz and Liddell are two of the most recognized fighters in MMA history. They are legends in the sport."

The bout, a so-called 'trilogy' clash in the storied rivalry of former UFC stars Liddell and Ortiz, will be "Golden Boy's first foray into MMA," per Okamoto. He also noted how further details for the fight and its place on a pay-per-view card are still being ironed out.

They may not know exactly when or where they will renew hostilities, but both fighters have already expressed enthusiasm for a third meeting.

Ortiz and Liddell last fought each other in 2006.
Ortiz and Liddell last fought each other in 2006.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Liddell said, "Golden Boy offers something different. We're partners in this. And I never get sick of punching Tito."

Meanwhile, Ortiz made it clear time hasn't seen any of the animosity between the two wane: "If anything, the rivalry is worse than it ever was. This isn't made for TV. This is as real as it gets."

Those are strong words, but questions will likely be raised about the level of interest, even among ardent MMA enthusiasts, in a fight between two men who have been away from the sport for a while.

They last met in 2006, with Liddell scoring a knockout win, but he's been retired from MMA since 2010, while Ortiz called time on his career two years later.

Not everybody is enthused by the prospect:

Jack Jorgensen @JackJorgensen14

Seriously, who is asking for a Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz fight? What kind of person is inquiring about seeing that?

Even so, those who remember the dramatic and brutal first two clashes could well be intrigued enough to purchase the event to see what each man has left.