Chuck Liddell’s presence in the mixed martial arts community is still as strong as ever. He’s a UFC Hall of Famer, former world champion–and arguably, the most dominant light heavyweight fighter of all time when he was in his prime. So when he decided to finally hang his gloves up following a 1-5 stint over the course of his last six fights (four of which came by some form of knockout), his longtime friend and training partner Antonio Banuelos, who makes his UFC Octagon debut this Saturday, was right there to support the daunting decision.
“We small talked about it, just about his career and stuff like that,” said Banuelos.
“My role in the part, what I told him was whatever he wanted to do I would back him up 110 percent. It was up to him. It’s his choice and I just told him that I would back him up no matter what.”
Since his official retirement was announced at the pre-fight press conference leading into “UFC 125: Resolution” in late December. Liddell has taken on a larger role with the UFC, becoming the new Vice President of Business Development. Ultimately though, Banuelos said whatever Chuck, 41, decided to do would be supported all the way, even if it meant a career as a not-so professional singer.
“If he wants to become a movie star, if he wants to become a car racer, it doesn’t matter. He’s been my friend, he’s been my mentor. He’s been so good to me, we’ve been through a lot together. He could come up to me tomorrow and say he wants to be a singer, and I know that he can’t sing that well. I’ve seen him in karaoke, and I’d still be like alright, lets do it!”