What’s Next for Chuck Liddell?

There's nothing like the MMA world for kicking a fighter when he's down. Now that Chuck Liddell has lost to Rashad Evans, everyone is…

By: Nate Wilcox | 15 years ago
What’s Next for Chuck Liddell?
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

There’s nothing like the MMA world for kicking a fighter when he’s down. Now that Chuck Liddell has lost to Rashad Evans, everyone is suddenly noticing that he’s lost 3 out of four fights, that he’s getting old, that he’s got sloppy habits that get him in trouble repeatedly and that his training camp isn’t necessarily the best in the universe. (I have to hand it to BloodyElbow reader Tha Realness for pointing out all these things in advance of the fight at his MMA4Real blog).

Robert Joyner of MMA Payout sums up the situation Chuck now finds himself in:

Chuck may be fated to finish out his career in much the same mode that Roy Jones Jr. is in now, wandering the landscape, putting on fights that still draw a crowd but that are of little import in the grand scheme of things. Such a fate would be fulfilling to his bank account but would be an an end not fitting for a man that has carried the sport on his back into near mainstream status, something akin to watching Michael Jordan finish his career in a Washington Wizards uniform.

Sam Caplan, fresh off declaring that Rashad Evans had no chance to beat Liddell, thinks its time for Chuck to get a new camp (I’m just messing with you Sam, I picked Liddell too):

The conclusion I have come to is that Liddell doesn’t need to retire but instead needs a new camp. He needs a new approach that John Hackleman and “The Pit” can’t provide him. A lot of the mistakes we saw from Liddell last night are the same mistakes we saw in losses to Randy Couture, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Jardine. Why Liddell has not improved as a fighter in recent years is partially his fault and partially the fault of his trainer.

Kevin Iole bolsters Sam’s case by pointing out how one-dimensional Liddell has become:

…there were no surprises in Liddell’s game. He moved forward, looking to load up on the fight-ending right hand.

A superb kick boxer, the 38-year-old Liddell has largely eschewed his kicks. A former college wrestler, Liddell seems to have no use for his wrestling. And though he has very good jiu-jitsu skills, he hasn’t shown them in years.

Michael David Smith of AOL Fanhouse outlines Chuck’s options in the near term (I’ve amended Michael’s reasoning for space reasons, read his whole post):

  1. Fight Anderson Silva
    Silva’s manager has said that Silva would like to fight Liddell, and the fight would make big money for UFC. The only reason not to do it would be the fear that Silva would absolutely destroy Liddell.
  2. Fight a tomato can
    The problem is that hard-core MMA fans will see right through that ploy — just as we can see right through EliteXC giving Ken Shamrock to Kimbo Slice. And, of course, the bigger problem is that if Liddell were to lose, it would be devastating.
  3. Move to heavyweight
    Adding Liddell would do more to beef up UFC’s heavyweight division, and it could set up a lucrative fourth fight with Randy Couture some day. Might Liddell fight Fabricio Werdum in his first heavyweight fight, with a stipulation that the winner gets first crack at the Brock Lesnar-Randy Couture/ Frank Mir-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira winner?
  4. Retire
    I’d like to see Liddell keep going, but after last night’s knockout, it would be hard to blame him if he decides he doesn’t want to set foot in the Octagon again.

I think that covers the possibilities pretty well. Personally I like the concept of Chuck moving up to heavyweight. I think Werdum is an excellent match-up for him and if Randy wins the upcoming string of fights, Chuck has every reason to think he could snatch the heavyweight belt.

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