For those that doubt mixed martial arts has arrived in the collective conscience of mainstream America, you have to look no further than the current issue of ESPN The Magazine. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell and son Cade grace the cover, the first time in the publication’s history that a mixed martial artist has held such a distinction.

“Nobody deserves this more than Chuck Liddell – he is a true ambassador for the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts,” said UFC President Dana White. “When people think of the UFC, the first fighter that comes to mind is Chuck Liddell. He’s a great person, a good friend and one of the best fighters I’ve ever known. I’m pleased to see him on the cover of ESPN the Magazine.”

Allison Glock, author of the ESPN The Magazine cover story, writes, “…Liddell has transcended the sport to become a cultural icon…He is The Guy for most guys, a real-life hero in a world of spoiled, whiny poseurs.”

The release of the magazine coincides with the build-up for Liddell’s next title defense, a rematch scheduled for May 26 in Las Vegas, Nev. against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Liddell lost to Jackson the first time they met, which took place in the Pride FC ring. Jackson is one of three losses on Liddell’s record and the only one that he has not yet avenged.

“I’ve been waiting for this fight with Rampage for a long time. I’m excited about it and I will knock him out,” said Liddell. “This is the last loss on my record that I have to avenge so I want to put that behind me and then look at new challenges.”