It’s been five years since ‘The Iceman’ Chuck Liddell hung up his gloves and stopped fighting in the Octagon. Since then, a new crop of stars has arrived — people like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports sat down with the UFC legend to discuss what he thought about them.
Here’s Liddell’s take on Ronda Rousey and her chances of bouncing back against Holly Holm:
“Only she knows what was in her mind and if it was just a bad night that she can easily fix, or whether her confidence was shaken,” Liddell said. “It looked to me like she went out there with the idea that she would try to box with Holly, which her coach [Edmond Tarverdyan] said she could do, and she got hurt early. That will affect what comes after.
“If she thinks it’s just a situation where she messed up and she’ll be able to make the changes that will make a difference, go ahead. But if her confidence is shaken and there are any doubts at all in her head, she should take a fight against someone else first. There’s no right answer, so to speak. It’s about what is in her head.”
As far as controversial new featherweight champ Conor McGregor goes, Liddell likes him … up to a point.
“I love the way Conor fights,” Liddell said. “How can you not? I mean, the guy delivers. I’ve been an Aldo fan for years, and he’s been such a great fighter, and Conor went out there and did what he said he was going to do.
“I’ll be honest: I don’t like the way Conor talks. I’m not a fan of that. I get it. I understand it. It’s his way of intimidating guys and getting into their head. Everyone has their way of trying to get into the other guy’s head before a fight, and talking is his way. I don’t like it, but I can put up with all the loudmouth, crazy things he says when he goes out and fights like he does and gives you those kinds of finishes.”
Chuck Liddell comes from a different era — there was no Twitter or social media at all for that matter, and most of his fight career went down before YouTube even existed. Back then, the only promotion you had to do for your next fight was knock the guy out in your last fight. Maybe there was a grainy little GIF of you knocking people out on Sherdog.net, but that was it. There was no need to be a charismatic quick talking joker, which is lucky for Chuck because that’s the antithesis of what he is.
The more Chuck Liddell opened his mouth back in the day, the more people thought he was drunk or something. But Chuck is just a different kind of human being. He’s infinitely more comfortable in the gym than in front of a camera. He’s an oldschool kind of guy who thinks fighting bare knuckled and getting covered in blood is “pretty funny.”
Would he still sell as many pay-per-views today as he did from 2000 to 2005 based on his violent finishes? Or is knocking people out no longer enough to make you a superstar nowadays in the UFC? Fortunately for Conor McGregor, he’s got the mouth AND the knockout power.