It would be easy to call Chuck Liddell nuts for thinking he has a chance at beating current light heavyweight king Jon Jones at this point in his life, as he implies in a recent interview with Fuel TV (video after the jump). Simply going by “MMA math” alone, the former 205-pound ruler finished his career losing five out his last six fights, and three of those losses came against guys (Shogun, Rashad and Rampage) who were easily handled by Bones in subsequent matches.
“The only thing that would make me even think about coming back is if they gave me a shot at the title,” Liddell told Ariel Helwani. “So, we’ll see.” Well, hopefully we won’t see. You don’t have to be a neurologist to understand that a comeback fight against the world’s top-ranked light-heavyweight would put Chuck’s long-suffering brain in grave danger.
That said, we won’t mock retired fighters for retaining some of the same qualities that we loved about them when they were active. Over the course of Liddell’s 12-year career, the former college wrestler probably faced only three guys that he would not have been able to out-wrestle and win in safe, if boring fashion. Yet, the Iceman had so much guts, bravado, and love for the battle itself that he instead chose to slug it out almost all of the time. As a result, MMA fans got to witness some of the most exciting knockouts in the sport’s history — first with Liddell on the winning end, and then with him in the more painful role of victim.
So yeah, Chuck loved to fight and had the confidence necessary to make him a champion. We can’t expect that he would lose that desire or hubris just because his friend and boss Dana White forced him to retire two years ago.
Once a warrior, always a warrior.
But with that said, no. Dana White, please continue to do whatever it takes to keep Chuck Liddell out of the cage now, especially against the likes of Jones. The world loves Liddell too much to see his lights turned out again. Pay him whatever it takes to remain an integral member of your executive team at Zuffa and maybe consider banning any media member who asks him about coming back. The guy deserves a cushy, well-paid do-nothing gig. Hell, we wish more former fighters had those types of opportunities.
Check out Liddell’s interview below. You have to give him credit for being very honest and open about where he’s at physically. “I have two problems,” Chuck said. “I probably can’t take a punch like I used to and I didn’t want to change my style. I mean, I could. I could start wrestling and try to control it and take less chances. But then I could still get hit hard…I wanted to go out fighting the way I like to fight — exciting and fun.”