by Lee Whitehead for MMAWeekly.com
Seni 2006 is the UK’s biggest Martial Arts show. The show covers traditional, mixed, and exotic variants of martial arts, with the emphasis on competitions and seminars. Who else would you happen to bump into if you were here? UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell.
Liddell is in town courtesy of www.fightdvd.co.uk to run a seminar on mixed martial arts, in conjunction with Cage Rage British Champion Mark “The Wizard” Weir. Clearly in good spirits and loving the chance to get out and mix with the crowd, Liddell managed to catch up with us over a much-needed Subway sandwich.
Many fans are wondering what is next for the champ. Well, the wait is over. He will be facing Renato “Babalu” Sobral for the belt in August.
Liddell previously defeated Sobral by knockout in 2002. When asked what Babalu brings to the table and what will be different from the last time they met in the Octagon, Liddell had the following to offer:
Chuck Liddell: Well, firstly, I don’t see this fight ending in anything other than a KO. He’s a dangerous fighter for sure, but he has weaknesses in his wrestling, and his stand-up isn’t at my level. His Jiu-Jitsu is his main strength in this match, but he won’t be able to keep me down and he won’t be able to submit me. All it takes is one punch, from any angle, and that’s it.
Lee Whitehead: Not a lot of people know this, but you’re a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, right? Will we see you rolling at all in this fight?
Chuck Liddell: I am a purple belt, but I have adapted and taken what I need out of Jiu-Jitsu in order to make things work for my style of fighting. Why fight someone else’s fight? If you’re a stand-up guy and you get taken down by a Jiu-Jitsu guy, get back up. Don’t fight his fight, just get back up… so that’s what I do. My Jiu-Jitsu serves me well, but I won’t be trying to submit him.
Lee Whitehead: You have a Cal Poly wrestling background, too…
Chuck Liddell: Yeah, Babalu’s wrestling isn’t where it needs to be. For sure he has improved since our last fight and he is a dangerous guy, but it will end like last time with me knocking him out.
Lee Whitehead: Who else do you see yourself fighting after Babalu? Anyone out there you want?
Chuck Liddell: I have wanted Wanderlei [Silva] forever, and he’s a free agent now.
Lee Whitehead: Do you think he will sign with the UFC, or do you think the money Pride offers will keep him?
Chuck Liddell: They don’t earn more than us now. I know guys out there and from what they tell me, I know they’re not earning more. I think the UFC could afford him, but I don’t know…
Lee Whitehead: On a one-fight deal?
Chuck Liddell: They could sign him to a multi-fight deal. They have the money, but I don’t know… I wanna fight him, though, and Rampage [Quinton Jackson].
Lee Whitehead: Do you see Rampage [fighting] in the UFC? I know he’s doing color commentary for the WFA show…
Chuck Liddell: Maybe. I think he will fight in the WFA… maybe build him up a bit there and get a win rather than come into the UFC straight away. I would like to fight him, though.
Lee Whitehead: Tito [Ortiz]?
Chuck Liddell: We will probably fight again, but it won’t be any different. [I’m] just gonna give him a beating again.
Lee Whitehead: What about the TUF guys? Do you see any one [of them] coming up through the ranks?
Chuck Liddell: Nah. Forrest [Griffin] is good, but he isn’t at my level. If we fought now, he would get smashed. He’s good, but he’s not ready. His stand-up isn’t there, and it would be an exciting first round, but it would be over quick with me knocking him out.
Lee Whitehead: So, tell us about what you have been doing since the last fight.
Chuck Liddell: PR, promo, loads of stuff like that. [I’ve] seen my daughter, but not as much as I would like… more promo, just keeping busy…
Lee Whitehead: And during your free time, any holidays?
Chuck Liddell: I don’t have any free time! I am going to Puerto Rico soon for one of my sponsors, but mainly promo stuff and training.
Lee Whitehead: Tell us about your injury.
Chuck Liddell: I originally thought I broke my [little] toe before the Randy [Couture] fight and didn’t think a doctor would do much about it. [I thought] it was broke, so I taped it to the other toe and fought. After a while, I got it checked and it wasn’t broken. It was dislocated, but because I left it, I stretched the ligaments. So, I went in and had it done [with surgery]. They had to stretch the ligament that had shrunk and then pin it… I had a pin popping out of my toe… and then leave it for about four to five weeks. I basically couldn’t do anything on it. I couldn’t shadow-box or anything, so they tell me, “Can’t I just change my stance?” but I won’t start doing it wrong and getting bad habits. It’s healing now and I can train again, so that’s good.
Lee Whitehead: And what’s with the painted toe-nails? I know Matt Hughes paints his as well…
Chuck Liddell: I was with a girl I was seeing a while back, and we were out, and she was going for a pedicure, and she said I should get it done. My feet are disgusting, and I thought, “What the hell.”
Lee Whitehead: But black and pink? Mind you, not a lot of people are going to take the piss out of you…
Chuck Liddell: Not really. The girls like it, though, when I’m out.
Lee Whitehead: So, you go out clubbing bare-foot to show off your painted toes?
Chuck Liddell: Nah, but I do wear my flip-flops.
Lee Whitehead: So is this a Pit thing? Seems like the kind of thing Jason Von Flue would do.
Chuck Liddell: Actually, Jason is the only one who doesn’t. Besides, Jason is mad and I wouldn’t recommend doing anything Jason would ever do.
Lee Whitehead: Well, thanks for your time, Chuck. Hope you enjoy your time in the UK and the Seni 06 seminar.
Chuck Liddell: Thanks.