Eight years after his last fight, former mixed martial arts star Chuck Liddell is returning to competition for a bout against rival Tito Ortiz that is tentatively set for later this year, according to ESPN.
The third matchup between the UFC Hall of Famers will be a battle between two aging fighters who helped bring MMA to the national stage in the mid-2000s. Liddell, a 48-year-old Cal Poly graduate from Santa Barbara, last fought in June of 2010 and Ortiz, 43, has been in and out of retirement since 2012.
"It should have happened 10 years ago, but better late than never," Liddell told TMZ Sports.
The fight is the first taste of MMA action for Oscar De La Hoya's Gold Boy Productions, one of the top boxing promoters in the industry.
"It feels great to sign a deal, to be honest with you. It's as exciting as I knew it would be," Liddell, who won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in 2005, told ESPN. "Golden Boy offers something different. We're partners in this. And I never get sick of punching Tito."
Liddell, known as "The Iceman," won his last two fights against Ortiz in 2004 and 2006 via knockout. Ortiz, a 43-year-old from Huntington Beach, is also coming out of retirement for the second time for the rematch.
"I'm only interested in fighting Chuck at this time," Ortiz told ESPN. "If anything, the rivalry is worse than it ever was. This isn't made for TV. This is as real as it gets."
Liddell last won a fight in 2007 against Wanderlei Silva. He lost his next three matches via knockout before retiring. Since retiring, Liddell has been involved in a number of legal battles and spent time as an actor, contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" and was an executive at the UFC until 2016.
The contract details have not been disclosed, but Liddell told TMZ Sports, "I'm going to get paid well, trust me. I wouldn't be doing it if I wasn't getting paid well."
Liddell, who now resides in Los Angeles County, said the venue and date details are still being hashed out.