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No Longer Just a 'Tune-Up,' Chuck Liddell Motivated to Hurt Tito Ortiz

Having already twice defeated his longtime rival, Chuck Liddell initially viewed his upcoming fight against Tito Ortiz in June as a tune-up fight, but all it took was one week for Ortiz to make it personal again.

"Most of the animosity towards him was gone," Liddell said on Monday's The Ultimate Fighter 11 conference call. "I mean, I don't really deal with him at all, so I was kind of over it. But within a week he motivated me to want to try to hurt him and continued to do it throughout the show.

"He kind of avoided me once he found out I was pissed at him," Liddell continued. " ... and I am going to hurt him."

It was something everyone could have expected out of the talkative, brash and drama-filled Ortiz, but even Liddell was a little surprised at how soon Ortiz would begin provoking him.

"Before the show I kind of counted on him to be himself and get me irritated enough that I -- and he did it within a week," Liddell said. "Within a week he had done something, said something to piss me off enough [to remind me of what kind of person he is]."

In early February, Ortiz riled up Liddell by telling the press that Liddell was a recovering alcoholic and that an intervention by UFC president Dana White helped Liddell find sobriety.

"It's bad enough to talk about someone's personal life, but to make something up like that about my personal life," Liddell said. "He's just a scumbag."

Ortiz has not won a fight since beating Ken Shamrock in October 2006 and many that Ortiz's best days are well behind him. Liddell apparently sees it that way as well, going as far as calling Ortiz a "tune-up fight." That was, until Ortiz's trash-talking made the fight more personal for Liddell.

"If he said anything about me I didn't really care because it didn't have any relevance in my life," Liddell said. "But now he pissed me off enough that now instead of training for a tune-up fight, I'm trying to hurt him. I'm training to go out there and beat him. He did the worst thing he could have done. He motivated me to train harder than I would've for the fight."

Liddell, who is currently walking around 220-222 pounds, said he began training and dieting in November to ready himself for the show and fight. He also recently began taping his own workouts, a little something he learned while competing on Dancing with the Stars.

Liddell's even cut out alcohol completely to be in top shape for the fight -- that is, if the fight happens. There have already been rumors floating around that Ortiz would not be available and that Liddell would be facing Rich Franklin instead. During the conference call, Liddell acknowledged the rumors, but said he is hoping they are not true.

"I think I've earned it for having to put up with him for seven weeks," said Liddell. "I think I've earned the right to beat him."

Although it was just one year ago that he was pushed into retirement by one of his best friends White, and three years since he's fought in a championship fight, his goal does not stop at beating Ortiz.

Before he retires, the 40-year-old Liddell wants one more shot at the light heavyweight belt.

"I want to make another run at the title," Liddell said. "If I can do it, I'm guessing it'll take another couple fights before. I'm going to have to beat Tito and beat a couple more guys then hopefully a title shot after that. Try to go out one more shot to go out on top. I can still beat anyone in the world. I just want one more shot at it."

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