Chuck Liddell Addresses Retirement
At 38 years old and losing three of his last four bouts, former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Chuck Liddell faces the question of whether or not he should continue to compete.
“I’ve always said I’ll decide if I’m going to retire in the training room, not after a fight,” Liddell told the media at Philips Arena Saturday night following UFC 88.
Liddell rose though the ranks of the 205-pound division by stringing together a 10-fight win streak against the top contenders before getting his long overdue title shot against Randy “The Natural” Couture at UFC 43: “Meltdown.”
He would lose to Couture that night in July of 2003, but defeated Couture in a rematch at UFC 52: “Liddell vs. Couture 2” to become the champion. He defended his title four times, including another defeat of Couture, and heading into 2007, Liddell had solidified himself as the top ranked light heavyweight in the world, enjoying a popularity not yet seen in mixed martial arts.
His title run came to an abrupt halt at UFC 71 at the hands of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and for the first time in his storied career, Liddell would lose back-to-back fights dropping a decision to Keith Jardine at UFC 78: “Knockout.”
Liddell bounced back with a unanimous decision win over rival and former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79: “Nemesis” in December in an epic battle between MMA legends.
Heading into UFC 88 against “Sugar” Rashad Evans, Liddell’s mystique was back. With a win, a title shot against Forrest Griffin loomed. But the title shot and the comeback came crashing down at the 1:51 mark of the second round, when Evans landed a thunderous right hand that left Liddell unconscious, face down on the canvas.
Before the fight with Evans, Liddell was signed on by Anheuser-Busch to be a spokesperson for their popular Bud Light brand. Still one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in MMA, it seems unlikely that Liddell would walk away at this point, leaving his career laying on the canvas in Atlanta.