It looks like we have seen the end of Chuck Liddell in the UFC after the knockout at UFC 115, Both Dana White and Liddell’s trainer have both said that they do not want to see the Iceman compete ever again in the cage. That said, I wanted to take a quick look back at some of Chuck Liddell’s best fights.
I can’t think of many other MMA fighters that have had as many exciting fights as Chuck Liddell. In his prime, the Iceman was practically unbeatable. Sure he hit a few road bumps, but there is a reason that Chuck Liddell ascended like no other fighter in MMA history to mainstream appeal. Fans always knew they were going to see an exciting fight when Chuck Liddell danced his way into the octagon.
So today I look back at five of Chuck Liddell’s greatest moments. As always, these are purely subjective but I don’t think that anyone could deny that we have seen some great Chuck Liddell moments in the octagon. Between big wins, fast knockouts, and exciting fights, Chuck Liddell always delivered.
1 – Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva UFC 79: Nemesis. In my opinion, this was the greatest fight in UFC history. The reason this one was so good is that not only did it live up to the hype, it exceeded all expectations. At the same time that Chuck was dominating the UFC, Wanderlei was dominating in Pride with fast knockouts, exciting fights, and big wins. Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva was every MMA fan’s dream match. The match delivered and was a pure slugfest for three rounds. Both guys had opportunities to knock the other out yet both showed chins of steel. Chuck and Wanderlei went toe to toe with every intention of delivering a great fight to the UFC fans. Liddell won a unanimous decision after three brutal rounds of action. For me, this was the greatest (and last best) moment of Chuck Liddell’s career.
[adinserter block=”1″]2 – Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture UFC 52: Couture vs. Liddell 2. This was arguably the biggest match in the history of the UFC. The fight came after the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in which both fighters coached teams of rookies. There wasn’t any trash talk during the season but the fact remained that Couture stopped Liddell via TKO three years earlier. The hype coming into this fight was tremendous and MMA fans knew they were seeing arguably the two best MMA fighters in the world at their peak. It only lasted 2:06 but it ended when Chuck Liddell let his hands fly and caught “The Natural” with some brutal punches and jumped on top of him and finished him off with more shots. UFC 52 also broke all pay per view records set by the UFC up to that point in the history of the company.
3 – Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz UFC 47: It’s On! The torch was officially passed in this fight and it was on this night where Chuck Liddell officially became “the man” in the UFC. Liddell and Ortiz had been training partners and there were many reports that Liddell would handle Tito in practices. When the UFC officially declared Chuck as the number one contender to Tito’s UFC light heavyweight title, Ortiz walked and stalled for a year. This was arguably the first Super Fight of the second era of the UFC. Liddell dominated the fight as expected and caught Tito in the second round. The officially ruling was a TKO, although it was a knockout. It was the first knockout of Ortiz’s career and the night that the Chuck Liddell era in the UFC officially got under way.
4 – Chuck Liddell vs. Alistair Overeem Pride Total Elimination 2003. We travel outside of the UFC for one of Chuck Liddell’s Greatest Fights. Liddell traveled to Pride as a UFC representative to face the devastating kick boxer Alistair Overeem. Overeem was on a 12 fight win streak with all of his fights ending either via submission or TKO. Overeem caught Liddell real early with a left hand that dropped the Iceman to one knee. Overeem continued to dominate Liddell throughout the round with strikes and it looked like Liddell was going down several times. All of the action seemed to tire Overeem as he dropped his hands and the Iceman went nuts. Liddell peppered him with a barrage of knees and punches and a left finally dropped Overeem for the win. The victory was absolutely huge due to both Overeem’s reputation and the way Liddell came back after being brutalized for most of the round.
[adinserter block=”2″]5 – Chuck Liddell vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral UFC 62: Liddell vs. Sobral. This was a rematch of an earlier fight that some argued was stopped too early. Sobral talked a lot of trash leading up the fight and had rattled off 10 wins in a row since the first fight against the Iceman. It became painfully clear quickly that Liddell had heard the trash talking and he didn’t like it. There was nothing controversial about this fight. It was one of the most brutal beatings that the Iceman ever unleashed in a ring. Liddell went nuts and just battered Babalu with an assault of strikes that immediately dropped the trash talking Sobral. Sobral tried to fight off his back but after receiving about 100 punches in a row turned over on his stomach and the fight was stopped. There are a few videos on You Tube which show the punches in slow motion for anyone that doubted the veracity of the Iceman’s performance.
Did I leave anything off? Drop a comment here and let me know.
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