When Chuck Liddell came out of retirement last November to compete against longtime rival Tito Ortiz as part of the debut of Golden Boy MMA, fans questioned why the 29-fight-veteran decided to take the fight in the first place.
Liddell, who was 48 years of age at the time, was viciously knocked out by Ortiz in the opening round, with the former UFC light heavyweight champion looking like a shadow of his former self during the fight. Prior to the Ortiz trilogy fight Liddell hadn’t competed since June of 2010, when he retired in the wake of three straight knockout losses.
Randy Couture was another of Liddell’s former foes during his time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and knows a thing or two about competing as an older fighter. Couture sympathized with Liddell’s decision to take the fight, maintaining that it’s not easy as a fighter to retire and go back into the “real world.”
Couture and Liddell shared the Octagon three times during their UFC careers and “The Natural” who was a recent guest on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and claimed that while it’s easy for people not in the sport to criticize Liddell, he understood why "The Iceman" decided to compete again.
“Again, I think maybe he feels that way, but again, it’s such a personal thing.” Couture said. “If in his heart he feels like he has more to do and more to accomplish, then who can hold that against him? I think he’s got to let it run its course. But I think most people watching and certainly seeing that fight felt like it wasn’t the same Chuck we’re used to seeing.
“Our identity is wrapped up in that sole endeavor, and that’s a difficult thing to just let go of and walk away from,” Couture added. “We’re not normal humans. So to think you’re just going to throw us back in this real world and it’s going to be honky dory, it doesn’t work that way.”