Former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger, Chael Sonnen, will make his highly-anticipated debut for Bellator MMA when he takes on Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz in January.

After signing with the Scott Coker led promotion, Sonnen called out the former UFC light heavyweight champion and that’s who he’s getting. The two will go at it on January 21st at The Forum in Inglewood, California, headlining Bellator 170.

During his first Bellator organised media conference call last month, Sonnen wasted no time in calling out the biggest names signed to the promotion, and top of that list was Ortiz.

Look, Tito is a legend,” said Sonnen. “Tito is great. Tito is even a friend of mine, but the bottom line is, he’s been around and I was jealous for a long time. Jealousy is a hell of a thing. There’s a reason it’s one of the deadly sins. 

“When I was out slugging trying to get fights, my shot, Tito was on TV and having the crowd cheer, doing the appearances, doing all these things that I fantasized and wanted to do. And there was really never an opportunity to go against him.”

The competitive relationship between Sonnen and Ortiz goes way back to before their time as professional mixed martial artists. This goes way back to their college years.

We were in the same division in college, same weight class, same conference,” recalls Sonnen. “I’d see him around at events. I still see him around at the events, but he looks at me the same way I look at him. I look at him like, Tito, you know I could whip your ass. And he gives me that exact same look. 

“Every time we’re in the same room together, it’s like this big alpha male contest. And he knows it’s going on, and I know it’s going on. So if the ‘Bad Boy’ wants a piece of the ‘Bad Guy’, all you gotta do is say my name. I said his name. All he has to do is say mine.”

Following the fight announcement Ortiz went to Instagram to share his thoughts on the bout.

Bellator 170 is going down on January 21st at The Forum in Los Angeles,” posted Ortiz. “I will have a can of whipass for my foe Chael Sonnen aka Bad Girl, aka American W**kster, aka juice cocktail! I will welcome you to Bellator MMA Bad Boy style! This one is for all of Anderson Silva fans, Wanderlei Silva fans in Brazil. Titomaniacs will run wild!”