04 Aug UFC Pioneer & Hall Of Famer Chuck Liddell – The Past & The Present
Chuck Liddell. My personal all time favourite fighter. The Iceman never failed to put on an explosive and exciting performance when he was in his prime and for this reason, he will always be regarded as my most favoured fighter to ever fight in the UFC.
If you are a die hard MMA fan, I am certain in saying that you know the ins and outs of Chuck and what he accomplished over his long, fighting career in the MMA scene.
Chuck started martial arts by learning Koei-Kan karate from the age of 12. This explains the tattoo on his head which actually translates to ‘Koei-Kan’. It is pretty fair to say that Chuck was destined to be a part of the MMA scene. He also became a Divison 1 wrestler at school and has a professional kickboxing record of 20 wins and 2 losses with 16 of his wins coming by the way of knockout. When he properly started his MMA career, he trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu under John Lewis in Las Vegas, Nevada.
So, what rose The Iceman to fame?
Liddell made his UFC debut in 1998 during UFC 17 in Mobile, Alabama, with a decision victory over Noe Hernandez. In his next bout, he faced the legendary Brazilian fighter, Jose “Pele” Landi-Johns, at an IVC event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which was bare-knuckle. Despite being a heavy underdog in his opponent’s home country, Liddell dominated the vale tudo fighter on the feet, and won via decision. After a technical submission loss to top contender Jeremy Horn shortly after, Liddell began establishing his reputation as a top contender with dominant victories over Kevin Randleman, Murilo Bustamante, Vitor Belfort, Amar Suloev, Jeff Monson, Renato Sobral and Tito Ortiz. Liddell was also the first UFC fighter currently on the roster to go fight in Pride where he represented the organization against fellow kickboxer Guy Mezger, knocking him out cold in one of the most exciting fights in the earlier days of MMA.
Chuck still holds the record for the most knockouts in UFC history with his total standing at 13. A worthy ‘hall of fame’ candidate indeed!
In his prime, The Iceman seemed unstoppable but then he hit a wall. He just didn’t seem to have that spark about him that he did for that long spell during the mid 2000’s.
For many fans, it appeared Liddell was going to continue fighting until he was yanked out of the cage by UFC President Dana White. Although perception from some of White’s statements backed up this thought, Liddell didn’t need the boss to tell him his career was over. Liddell said the following at a fan Q&A session in Brazil:
I talked to my family, my coaches, and then I went to Dana. I talked to Dana. Dana and I actually went to dinner, and he thought I was going to ask him to fight again. I came to dinner, and I said, “You know what? I’m done.” He was relieved.
The UFC Hall of Famer amassed a professional record of 20-3 before being knocked out in four of his final six fights.
Going into his final fight with Rich Franklin, there were some rumblings that Liddell was going to go back to his roots and try to project a more well-rounded game against Franklin. He did just that and looked good against “Ace,” until the last 10 seconds of the fight.
Much like Liddell fared against Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua, The Iceman was hit on the chin and collapsed in a heap onto the Octagon canvas. Even the biggest Liddell fans knew that this should spell the end to an iconic career.
Although Liddell knew he had to retire, that didn’t mean it wasn’t something he went back and forth with.
“I love fighting, and I didn’t want to stop, but it was the right decision at the time between my coaches and my family.”
If there is one thing Liddell fans can never get enough of, it’s reliving the highlights of him putting a beating on Tito Ortiz. Judging by Liddell’s comments, Ortiz would be about the only thing to lure him back into another fight.
I’d always like to hit Tito. “That would always be fun, so that’s a possibility, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think I made the right decision in retiring. Unless something changes, I’ll stay retired.
While Liddell does drop comments every now and then about getting one more fight against his rival, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of fans would rather Liddell stay behind the scenes and not risk having a loss to Ortiz at the end of his fighting resumé.
Looking back on Liddell’s last five losses, it is easy to say he should have retired a bit sooner, but nobody, especially fans and those in the media, should tell a fighter when it is time to hang it up.
So, after such an exciting and successful career within MMA fighting, what possibly could Chuck do after his retirement?
Well, we all know Chuck retired back in December of 2010, and for me personally, it was a sad day to hear that my childhood hero was hanging up the gloves! What could he possibly do now to benefit the UFC or any other organizations for that matter?
As soon as Chuck retired, he and Dana got together to discuss his future and how he could still be one of the biggest faces within UFC and within the whole MMA scene. Chuck was given the role of ‘Vice President of Business Development’. Alot of people would think Chuck Liddell – great fighter, but no brains. If you thought this, then you would be strongly mistaken. The Iceman actually has a degree in business and accounting.
Chuck’s main role now his to promote the hell out of the UFC. To be honest, who could be better at this job than Chuck Liddell? I personally think that no-one could. Chuck has gained the respect of one of the greatest fighters in UFC history and his name is very well associated with UFC and MMA. Dana White has previously said that he thinks Chuck is one of the biggest reasons by the UFC has gotten to where it has today!