In the lead-up to the third encounter between Liddell (21-8) and Ortiz (19-12-1), which takes place Nov. 24 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and airs on pay-per-view, “The Iceman” has released a number of training clips. The feedback has been largely negative toward the former UFC champ, who is making his return to MMA after a more than eight-year retirement.
Ortiz has watched all of Liddell’s training footage, and he said his reaction is one of skepticism.
“I think he’s sandbagging,” Ortiz told reporters, including MMAjunkie, at today’s open workout at Kings MMA in West Hollywood, Calif. “I think he’s sandbagging in the fact that I don’t think he’s that slow. I hope he’s not that slow. It’s going to be a short night for him if he’s that slow.
“I’ve watched it and I had to take a step back and kind of think of the promotion side of it, think back to the physiological side of it. Is he trying to make sure he slows down a little bit to make me think he’s that slow? But at the same time I’m ready for him to be super faster.”
The matchup between Ortiz, 43, and Liddell, 48 will mark the third meeting between former UFC light-heavyweight titleholders. Ortiz was stopped with strikes in the second round at UFC 47 in April 2004, then put away by TKO in the third round of the rematch at UFC 66 in December 2006.
During Liddell’s retirement from the sport, Ortiz has competed nine times, with his most recent bout being a submission victory over Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170 in January 2017. He retired after that fight but came back only for the opportunity to get another shot at his longtime rival.
“This fight means the world to me,” Ortiz said. “I wouldn’t have put 18 weeks into it. I wouldn’t have put the grinding. I wouldn’t be sacrificing Thanksgiving. I’m not having a Thanksgiving this year. First time in my whole career of 21 years I won’t have a Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving has to wait until Sunday. My kids understand, and they’re like, ‘Dad, we understand, it’s OK. We want you to win. Whatever it takes to win, we want you to do.’ That is just a factor. This is how much this fight means to me. I’m willing to sacrifice everything in the world to make it happen, and I’m going to get my hand raised.”
Despite the results of their previous fights, Ortiz said he’s filled with confidence that he’ll get the last laugh on Liddell. He believes all the pressure is on his opponent and said the advantages this time around are on his side.
“His job is to try to knock me out the first round,” Ortiz said. “Go ahead, prove that. I’m willing to see if he can try to prove that, because I’m going to prove I’m going to knock his ass out. I’m going to show that I’m a better fighter, I’m going to show that I’m more aggressive. I’m going to show that I’m stronger, faster than he’s ever seen me.
“I don’t think about what I watched that Chuck Liddell did (during training). I think about the Chuck Liddell that beat me the first and second time. That’s the Chuck Liddell that I’m ready to fight.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Tito Ortiz believes Chuck Liddell is 'sandbagging' during public training sessions