Former teammates collide at UFC 258 when Kamaru Usman fights Gilbert Burns.
The build-up, although, has been freed from any drama and whereas they aren’t precisely buddies, it’s nothing like when earlier teammates have shared the octagon.
Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz springs to thoughts. The 2 had probably the most well-known feuds in UFC historical past, having beforehand been buddies and teammates and settled their variations within the octagon in 2004.
UFC president Dana White is normally neutral – however not again then he wasn’t.
Within the early 2000s, Ortiz had a then-record setting run because the UFC light-heavyweight champion, however he and White by no means fairly noticed eye-to-eye.
The pair had been even going to field in 2007, one thing Ortiz managed to get as a part of his contract renewal with UFC, however then he failed to indicate up for the weigh-in and it was cancelled.
Talking in a radio interview in 2013, White revealed how deep the hatred ran.
“I’d be a liar if I stated no,” he stated when requested if he ever wished to see considered one of his fighters get overwhelmed.
“‘After all not, I’m at all times impartial,” he added sarcastically, earlier than recalling: “You understand how many instances Tito fought and I wished to see him get his ass whooped?
“Each time he obtained beat was absolute enjoyable for me. Tito and I hated one another, man.
“We’re cool, . It’s what it’s now, however again within the day it was actual unhealthy. There was a factor the place it was like me and Chuck Liddell versus Tito Ortiz – that’s what it was like.”
Ortiz fought Liddell for the primary time in April 2004 and was knocked out within the second spherical. He misplaced once more once they met in December 2006 through knockout within the third spherical.
They’d a trilogy struggle in 2018 when each males had been well beyond it, and that point Ortiz obtained the KO in spherical one.
Nevertheless, White admits to cherishing that first beating Ortiz took by the hands of Liddell and admitted he did one thing he by no means did beforehand.
“When Tito and Chuck fought for the primary time, I instructed Chuck ‘I would like your shorts and your gloves that you just beat the snot out of him in.’
“I put them in a glass case and hung them up in my home! That’s a truth. I hung it up proper in my home, each time I walked within the trunks had been proper there.”
Though Ortiz had a giant function to play in blasting UFC and blended martial arts into the mainstream, Liddell turned the face of it within the early to mid noughties and has remained buddies with White.
The hate between White and Ortiz ended when he left the promotion and was inducted into the Corridor of Fame previous to this final struggle at UFC 148 in 2012.
And on the induction, White spoke about Ortiz’s involvement within the greatest fights of the promotion’s early days such because the bouts in opposition to Ken Shamrock, Randy Couture in addition to Liddell.
And whereas Usman and Burns haven’t engaged in verbal warfare, he will likely be taking his challenger severely.
“Lots of people are writing us up like buddies and teammates combating one another,” the welterweight champion stated.
“On the finish of the day I don’t see this anyone, there’s no buddies in there.
“What may very well be extra private than somebody you practice with each day saying ‘I see what you’ve gotten, I would like that, I’m going to take that from you?’”