– MMAWeekly Radio & Jeff Cain
Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell will attempt to defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light-heavyweight title for the second time Saturday night against a familiar adversary, Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. When Liddell defeated Jeremy Horn at UFC 54: ‘Boiling Point,’ he became the winningest fighter in the organization’s history (Matt Hughes has since tied Liddell with twelve UFC wins).
Randy Couture is the only two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, and the only two-time UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion. He is also the only fighter to have won division titles in two different divisions in the UFC. This is a Hall of Fame match up.
The two first faced off in June of 2003 at UFC 43: ‘Meltdown.’ It was Couture’s debut as a light-heavyweight, and Liddell’s long awaited title shot. Liddell came in as the favorite, but he left with a loss that ended his ten fight win streak in the UFC.
Couture came out a game fighter, taking the fight to Liddell, landing punches and taking Liddell down multiple times. Half way through the third round, Couture secured a takedown and immediately moved to the mount position where he was able to finish the fight by TKO, referee stoppage due to punches.
The two rematched at UFC 52, fittingly named, ‘Couture vs. Liddell 2.’ Randy came in as the favorite, but left the octagon without his belt. Liddell made the appropriate adjustments in his game plan, avoiding the takedown and keeping the fight in the standing position. He knocked Couture out just over two minutes into round one, the first time Couture had ever been knocked out in his long and illustrious Mixed Martial Arts career.
The UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion, Chuck Liddell, recently spoke with MMAWeekly Radio about the third match in the UFC’s most famous trilogy. Both fighters have defeated the other decisively. Each has tasted championship glory. Both are future Hall of Famers. Neither expects to lose. ‘The Iceman’ talks Liddell and Couture 3.
MMAWeekly: Chuck, it’s here. It’s ready to happen.
Chuck Liddell: I’m ready.
MMAWeekly: How are you feeling about this fight?
Liddell: I feel great. I’m in great shape. I’ve been training hard, and I’m ready to go.
MMAWeekly: What’s different the third time compared to the first two for you?
Liddell: Nothing really. We’ve changed a few things. We looked at a couple of things through films. But other than that, just training as usual for a fight, getting in shape.
MMAWeekly: Did Randy do anything different in his last fight with Van Arsdale that might help you for this fight at all?
Liddell: He’s got a few different things, but Van Arsdale is a totally different fighter than me. He’s more of a wrestler.
MMAWeekly: Randy’s been in so many fights, as you have. I don’t know what you guys could do this third time to surprise each other. Is there anything?
Liddell: Yea. I think he’s going to come up with something. He’s got to come up with something to get me tired out and get me to the ground.
MMAWeekly: The interesting part with this trilogy, the first time he surprised you with the game plan. The second one you had a better game plan than he did. This third time, do you change anything?
Liddell: We changed a few things. We added some things, but I’m interested to see what he’s going to come out with.
MMAWeekly: What do you expect him to come out with?
Liddell: I don’t know. There’s a couple of different options of things that he could do. We’ll see what he does.
MMAWeekly: If you were Randy Couture fighting you, what would you do differently than last fight?
Liddell: Take me down. I don’t know. I’m not going to try to guess what he’s going to do. You’re not going to get that out of me.
MMAWeekly: Last time you did a lot more circling obviously to counter Randy’s straight style. Are you going to stick to that same style? Are you looking to throw more punches as opposed to the first where you circled and threw punching late? Are you going to throw more punches as you circle, or are you still going to keep the same kind of circling positioning?
Liddell: It just depends on what he does. I’m going to try to land more punches and stay busy.
MMAWeekly: Do you consider yourself more of a counter puncher or more of a punch first guy?
Liddell: Depends kind of on what the guy is doing. If he’s going to pressure me, I’ll be a counter puncher. If he lays back, I’ll come after him a little more.
MMAWeekly: Randy has been training with a bunch of different guys: Andrei Arlovski, Forrest Griffin were some names he mentioned. Who are the guys that have been getting you ready for this fight?
Liddell: The same guys: Chuck Salmon as usual, Scott Adams, Scott Lighty, some guys that have been at my gym forever training with me.
MMAWeekly: When we talked to Randy, he had some interesting things to say about you. Basically he was saying how he was looking forward to dropping you on your head and things of that nature. Do you expect this battle to be more on the ground? Do you expect it to be more on the feet? What do you expect for this third time?
Liddell: I’m expecting it to be more on the feet. That’s where I’m going to try to keep it obviously.
MMAWeekly: I know you’re getting tired of answering this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway. We asked Randy about the poke, and he said that basically it did change the fight. What do you say to people that keep bringing that up?
Liddell: I’m pushing off. It’s not intentional. It’s not something I do. I caught him with, the glove caught him, came across him. It didn’t look like I actually poked him. I’ve got to push off on people to get away from them, so if it happens, it happens.
MMAWeekly: A lot of your opponents are saying that when they get punched by you, they get poked in the eye. I don’t know if it’s the way you make your fist, or how your punches come off.
Liddell: Someone like Vernon White, he complains about it probably the loudest. He said he got poked and I broke his orbital. [laughs] That punch was a knuckle. I looked at that Tito one forever and I thought it was a knuckle or a glove maybe, but it was a knuckle. Randy, I think it was the glove pushing across his face. He had some time to recover, and he says it made him get panicked right after that. If you look at the fight, he doesn’t rush me right away. He rushed me right after I hit him with a left hook, and I saw he was hurt a little bit and came after him. He came back at me. I still think it was because he got hurt a little bit with that left hook, and then he did a little panic to get close to me, then I pivoted off and caught him.
MMAWeekly: Is it because you have a really looping style in your punching power? Is it because of the way your punches come away from your body that most fighters don’t train for that looping style that caused them to tend to get caught in the eye when you punch at them?
Liddell: I don’t know. I do throw things at awkward angles. I’ll throw them at any angle that can hit you, and I’m able to generate power at those angles. That causes people to have problems.
MMAWeekly: We saw the last Ultimate Fight Night. They showed you doing some stuff in there with the new show coming out on Blade. Tell me about that. How was it to do a little acting?
Liddell: It was fun. It’s always something interesting when you go do that stuff because it’s a whole another type of fighting. [laughs] It’s movie fighting. It’s a whole another thing. It’s really useless.
MMAWeekly: It’s kind of monotonous doing the same thing over and over, huh?
Liddell: It didn’t take that long. It’s just different. You know? You throw things different. What looks good for the camera and what is real are two different things.
MMAWeekly: Have you ever hit the guy when you’re taping? You ever accidently clock the guy in the head?
MMAWeekly: That’s too bad . . . Is that what you want to do after you get done fighting? Do you want to get into the movies and do that kind of stuff?
Liddell: I don’t know about that. I mean it’s fun to do it every once in awhile, but I’m good at fighting. I don’t know how good my acting is. We’ll see.
MMAWeekly: What was the other show that you did? The white supremacist thing, what was that about?
Liddell: The Life and Death of Bobby Z. I play a gang leader in prison.
MMAWeekly: You and Tim Sylvia were in that, right?
Liddell: Yea. Tim Sylvia was in it. A bunch of other guys went down there. Pat Miletich was doing some stuff for the fight scenes. Paul Walker and Lawrence Fishburne are the main actors in it.
MMAWeekly: Are you still hanging out with Willa Ford?
Liddell: Yea. We’re still friends.
MMAWeekly: She’s been downgraded to friend? What’s up with that Liddell?
Liddell: We’re just friends now. We have been just friends for a couple of months.
Liddell: Yea. We broke up a couple of months ago.
MMAWeekly: My condolences.
Liddell: We’re still friends and all that. My life’s not bad. Trust me.
MMAWeekly: I’ve noticed that. You got the endorsement deals. You’re the champ, and you get the hottest chics. [laughs] Everyone is talking about Randy. We thought this may be his last fight, but he just signed a three-fight contract. I’m going to pose the question to you, how much longer do you think you’ll be in this game as a competitor? How much longer do you think you’ll be fighting?
Liddell: I’d like to fight as long as possible. As long as I can still perform, I’ll fight. If I ever decided that I’m not performing well and not able to. Right now I’m feeling great. I don’t see myself falling off anytime soon, but we’ll see.
MMAWeekly: Quinton Jackson, do you ever see him fighting in the UFC against you?
Liddell: I hope so. I think they’ve offered it to him a couple of times. I think they’ve talked to him, but I think he turned it down from what I understand.
MMAWeekly: What are your thoughts on Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin? How do you see the fight going?
Liddell: I don’t know. It depends on how Forrest comes out and fights and how Tito fights. Tito hasn’t fought in a while, so we’ll see.
MMAWeekly: Does Forrest have a shot to win this fight?
Liddell: I think he’s going to have to keep his distance and keep Tito from taking him down. I don’t know. Keep Tito off of him. I don’t know.
MMAWeekly: We talked to Forrest awhile back and he said he was going to follow Chuck Liddell’s game plan. My thing is, there is only one Chuck Liddell who has a good sprawl, who was a division one wrestler who can knock you out with either hand. I’m sure everyone would love to follow your game plan, but those guys don’t have your skills.
Liddell: I don’t know. I don’t know how it’s going to go. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
MMAWeekly: Who is the better coach, Tito Ortiz or Ken Shamrock on Ultimate Fighter 3? Who do you think will be a better coach?
Liddell: I don’t know. I’ve actually never seen Ken coach, and Tito does a good job of coaching. I don’t always say good things about him, but he’s a pretty decent coach.
MMAWeekly: Do you believe you will ever fight Wanderlei Silva?
Liddell: I don’t think the organizations will allow that to happen. No, probably not. I’ve kind of given up on it. It’s a great fight for me, but I don’t think it will happen.
MMAWeekly: Who is the better fighter, Wanderlei Silva or Shogun?
Liddell: I’ve never really thought about it. I think they’re both similar. I’d fight either one of them. I think either one of them is a good fight for me.
MMAWeekly: If you had to throw money down on one of them if they fought, who would it be?
Liddell: I haven’t watched enough of Shogun. I’ve only seen him fight I think once.
MMAWeekly: Get off the fence Chuck. You wussie.
Liddell: Hey, always on the fence. Have you ever had me not on the fence?
MMAWeekly: All right. Do you still have the Hummer, or did you sell it?
Liddell: I still have it.
MMAWeekly: Do you drive that thing a lot?
Liddell: I do. I have an F-150 too.
MMAWeekly: Which one do you drive more?
Liddell: I go back and forth.
MMAWeekly: When do you take the Hummer out? When you want to try to impress the ladies, or what? What’s the deal with the Hummer?
Liddell: I drive it around town and stuff, going to take my kids and stuff.
MMAWeekly: How much does it cost to fill that bad boy up? That’s got to be expensive dude.
Liddell: About seventy or eighty bucks. It gets about eleven miles to the gallon.
MMAWeekly: Are you a millionaire Chuck?
Liddell: I don’t know.
MMAWeekly: Chuck, do you own a suit?
Liddell: I actually own one. I’ve never put it on, but I own it.
MMAWeekly: You have a suit?
Liddell: I have one, but I’ve never put it on.
MMAWeekly: That’s hard to believe man.
Liddell: I’ve never worn it.
MMAWeekly: When you have to go to a nice event, what do you wear?
Liddell: I’ve got some nice clothes.
MMAWeekly: I’ve never seen them. I’ll say that.
MMAWeekly: Okay, Chuck, it’s always nice to track you down. Before I let you go, give me the round. What round are you going to finish Randy Couture in?
Liddell: Oh man, I don’t know, two or three.
MMAWeekly: This one is going to go a little longer?
Liddell: I think he’s going to come out with something. I’m going to have to figure something out, out there.
MMAWeekly: Real quick, what is up with this crap about a knee injury? Is your knee good?
Liddell: Oh my God. My knee is 100%.
MMAWeekly: Where was that coming from? Everyone is asking did you tear your ACL and all this crap. What is that about?
Liddell: I don’t know, because some jackass put it on the internet. I don’t know.
MMAWeekly: Geez. Your knees are fine?
Liddell: My knees are fine. They’re as good as they’ve been.
MMAWeekly: Fair enough. Chuck, good talking to you.
Liddell: No problem.
MMAWeekly: Thanks man.