Ultimate Fighting Championship hall of famer and former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell announced to Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” that he is indeed coming out of retirement.
While it seems everything is still early in the planning stages, the 48-year-old is targeting a trilogy fight against long-time rival Tito Ortiz. While Liddell and Ortiz are UFC veterans, the chances of them fighting inside the Octagon are slim to none. Liddell is however confident that the fight will take place with Oscar de la Hoya’s new mixed martial arts promotion and could even be the part of the first ever event under that umbrella.
“I will fight again,” Liddell declared.
“It’s a real thing. They’re working on it.”
While the deal hasn’t been finalized, Liddell is targeting a November fight for his return, which will be just before his 49th birthday. The location of the fight will likely be in either Las Vegas or California.
Fight fans believed “The Iceman” was only coming out of retirement for a chance to beat up Ortiz for a third time, but Liddell confirmed he’s fighting with or without the 43 year-old Ortiz.
“It does not hinge on Tito’s participation,” Liddell said.
“I miss it. I never stopped missing it. And I kinda hadn’t really thought about it much. And then when he brought it up and we started getting going, and I started training and I started doing stuff again, getting ready to try to take this on, it made me go, ‘You know what, what if he pulls out? Am I not going to fight? Am I going to do all of this and not fight?’ Oh no, we had to have somebody backing up, and if it doesn’t work out with him, I’m [still] going to give it a shot. It’ll be somebody else, one of the guys from my past probably, most likely, and we’ll see where I’m at.”
After suffering three consecutive knockouts, Liddell finally retired in 2010 and was given a lifetime executive role with the UFC supposedly from President Dana White as an incentive for staying out of the Octagon. His role with the UFC subsequently ended in 2016 after the UFC was sold to WME-IMG for $4 billion.
While White is strongly against Liddell making a comeback especially at his age and history with concussions, the hall of famer isn’t too fazed by his former bosses comments.
“With all due respect, yeah, leave it alone. Leave me alone,” Liddell said. “You promised something to me for a long time and it’s gone. But it’s not even that. I want to fight. I miss everything. Everyone always asks me, ‘Hey man, this must be a lot better than fighting?’ No, no, I still -- that was my favorite thing. My wife asks me, ‘How do you like doing that?’ My wife asks me that all the time. I still miss it. I miss everything. I miss cutting weight. I miss everything that goes with it, everything, the good, the bad. It’s all of it. I mean, I miss hanging out the gym, going and working out every day. It’s fun to me.
“It’s [White’s] opinion. It’s how he feels, and that’s OK with me. You’re entitled to your opinion and what you think. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. If I can’t fight, if I don’t feel like I can perform or go out there and perform, I wouldn’t. But I feel like I can still perform, especially enough to beat Tito, so I’ll be ready.”
Liddell said he plans on making some defensive adjustments to his game for his comeback and will try to avoid his old style of standing in the pocket and exchanging. While this may not be the news fans of “The Iceman” want to hear, he did promise he’ll still be the same heavy hitting guy he was before.