Chuck Liddell: I Wasn't Really Ready to Retire

By Nathan Zur Sep 19, 2018


MMA legend Chuck Liddell will come out of retirement on Nov. 24 for a trilogy fight with bitter rival Tito Ortiz under the banner of Golden Boy MMA.

The 48-year-old decided to hang up his gloves in December 2010 after being on the receiving end of three brutal knockouts to Rashad Evans, then Mauricio Rua with the third and final one coming at the hands of Rich Franklin.

The former light heavyweight champion maintains that his retirement from the sport came down to others pressuring him rather than his own decision, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and President Dana White promised him a job outside the cage as part of the deal to retire from competition. Shortly after the UFC was purchased in 2016 by WME-IMG, Liddell was released from that role.

In a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Liddell admitted he had wanted to keep competing in MMA despite choosing to retire.

“I wasn’t really ready to leave when I left,” Liddell said. “I love this sport. I love fighting. I love training and I feel that I’ve still got some fight in me. Part of it is people told me I couldn’t. If you tell me I can’t do something, I like to prove to you that I can.”

Liddell, 48 and Ortiz, 43, first met at UFC 47 in 2004 where Liddell put on a sprawl-and-brawl performance for the ages, turning aside the takedown attempts of his one-time training partner and lighting him up with strikes on the way to a second-round knockout. The second encounter between the pair occurred in 2006 at UFC 66 while Liddell was the reigning light heavyweight champion. On that night Ortiz fared a little better, but it ended the same, with Liddell stringing together a combo of punches and dropping “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” in the third round.

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