– FOCUSED ON SHOGUN, LIDDELL WANTS BELT BACK

by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com







Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight
titleholder Chuck Liddell heads into UFC 97 with a rejuvenated focus and
polished skill set hoping to make Mauricio "Shogun" Rua a steppingstone
in his path back to title contention.

 

"It’s exciting for me.  I want to get out there. 
I’ve been working on some different stuff and I want to go out and show
it," the
39-year-old fighter told MMAWeekly.com
at the UFC 97 pre-fight press
conference in Montreal. 

 

He added, "I’m ready to get my belt back."

 

The landscape of the 205-pound division has changed since
Liddell held the belt.  Quinton "Rampage" Jackson took the title
from him at UFC 71 on May 26, 2007, by technical knockout.  Jackson defended
the belt once before losing it to The Ultimate Fighter season one winner
Forrest Griffin by decision in a razor-close fight.  Griffin was
defeated in his first title defense against Rashad Evans in December of 2008. 

Evans is scheduled to defend his title for the first time against Lyoto Machida
on May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

 

Questioned about Machida, Liddell commented, "I like
Lyoto man.  He’s a good guy and I just like his style.  He gets away
with that point karate style.  Sometimes he gets that point karate bounce. 
I love it.  He’s great."

 

Coming from a karate and wrestling background, a match-up
with Machida intrigues the former titleholder.  "It would be fun. 
I actually like fighting southpaws.  It would be interesting," he stated.  "He’s
quick too, though, and the way he plays that counter game.  It
would be interesting."

 

The mention of Quinton Jackson to Liddell sparks a
change in the California fighter’s demeanor.  Without hesitation and
with a grin on his face, Liddell remarked, "I’d like another shot at
that, definitely.

 

"I’ll beat him.  If we fight again, I’m going to
beat him."

 

First, he’ll have to get past Shogun at UFC 97 on Saturday
night in Montreal.

 

UFC 97 VIDEO: CHUCK
LIDDELL PRE-FIGHT INTERVIEW

 

UFC 97 VIDEO: ANDERSON
SILVA PRE-FIGHT INTERVIEW

 

UFC 97 PRE-FIGHT
PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO (PART 1)

 

UFC 97 PRE-FIGHT
PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO (PART 2)