On a media teleconference for Saturday’s UFC 97, the topic of retirement hung over former UFC light heavyweight Chuck Liddell.
It was against his will, of course. No matter UFC president Dana White’s order that Liddell “show him something,” he had no intention of retiring any time soon. If he won his title back, maybe.
But he’s fighting Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in Montreal on Saturday, and that’s all that matters.
“What keeps me motivated?” Liddell asked a reporter. “I love fighting. I get paid a lot of money to do what I love for a living. I don’t think there’s much motivation past that.”
Perhaps for the first time since he hit a rough patch in the division he once ruled, Liddell admitted he was getting older.
“You’ve got to train smarter,” he said. “I think this fight is almost different than the last couple of fights as far as age training goes. A little more warming up.”
Gone are the days where he could show up and go.
“I remember when I was twenty-two, you’d walk out and put your gloves on, to warm up for sparring,” he continued. “Now, I make sure to get a good fifteen, twenty minute warm-up before I start doing anything.”
Rua faces his own questions going into the fight. The former Pride champion was dreadfully out of shape for his UFC 93 appearance against Mark Coleman.
As far as Liddell, he’s pretty sure that if he puts Rua to sleep, he’ll still have a job on Monday.
“I’m planning on coming out and performing like I normally do, and I plan on coming out and knocking him out so, hopefully that will be enough to keep him interested in me fighting,” said Liddell.