by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
As odd as it is to hear, the “former” UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Chuck Liddell joined MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio last week for the first time since his disappointing 1st round KO loss to Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
Prior to his fight with Jackson, Liddell had easily established himself as one of the top 205-pound fighters in the world and garnered MMAWeekly’s #1 light heavyweight ranking. Since his losing effort with ‘Rampage,’ Liddell’s overall ranking may have slightly slipped (he is now ranked at #3), but his popularity certainly has not.
This past Wednesday night, Spike TV aired its first “Guy’s Choice Awards,” and Liddell was nominated for and walked away with the title of Spike TV’s “Most Dangerous Man.” Chuck has made it known that he does some acting and other appearances for the fun of it, but that he is a fighter, and as flattering as it may be to be recognized for acting roles, Liddell no doubt wants to be recognized for his in-ring accomplishments even more. Simply put, Chuck is a fighter. And as a fighter, ‘The Iceman’ is looking to bounce back from his recent loss by getting into the cage again soon.
Chuck said, “I want to fight again just as much as I always have… I’m going to train just as hard and get ready for a fight.” The fight that has been rumored but unsubstantiated by anyone, including Liddell, who said, “I’ve heard the rumors, but I have no date and no opponent as of yet,” is former champ vs. former champ in Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva.
Both Liddell and Silva were tremendously dominant at 205 pounds – Liddell in the UFC and Silva in Pride – before each of them was recently removed from their thrones. Two of the men that many thought to be nearly unbeatable were knocked out decisively this year. Although ‘The Iceman’ would have preferred to have a 205-pound unifying bout with Silva when they were both champs, he still believes that this fight would be a win/win for the fans.
Chuck said, “I think it’s a great fight for the fans and I think it would be a great fight. I think it would have been a little better both of us being champions and now with both of us coming back from losses, but that’s what champions do so it’s both of us trying to make our way back.”
Perhaps the most ironic issue accompanying Liddell’s loss is that had he won just one more fight, his dream of unifying the Pride and UFC belts would have come to fruition in September. Instead, the UFC’s new champion Quinton Jackson will fight Pride’s champ Dan Henderson for the unification of belts. Both Couture and Liddell sought to unify the 205-pound belts in their extended reigns as champs, but in a paradox of fate, the belts will unify in only ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s first title defense as the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Mixed martial arts is an ever-changing sport now more than ever, though, and Chuck’s chances to fight Dan Henderson for the title are likely not forever lost. If Liddell can pull out a win over his next opponent and Henderson manages to beat Rampage, then Chuck will likely be right back where he began only with an added incentive… he would then have the opportunity to win both the Pride and UFC belts simultaneously from the man he would have originally faced anyway in Henderson.
For now, Chuck is only concerned with when he will get to fight next. “I’m ready whenever they’re ready to give me another fight,” Liddell said. When Liddell does get the green light, fans can expect the ‘Iceman’ to be a man on a mission with whomever he steps into the cage with. Everyone that knows Chuck is aware that whether he is fighting for peanuts or Porsche’s, bragging rights or big money, he is “in it to win it” and he will definitely be going for the kill against his next opponent.