It was a fitting end for a legend in the sport Saturday night at UFC 115. Chuck Liddell came into his main event fight with Rich Franklin having lost 4 of his last 5 and being knocked out in 3 of them. It was Chuck’s last stand and he left it all in the cage. He came out like the Chuck of old with his hands and feet ready for war and it was late in round 1, with his once rock solid chin gone from years of battles and knockouts scummed to a Franklin right hand that put him down and out.
Many are sad that Liddell with no longer grace the octagon. We will never see the Iceman’s lethal right hand and overpowering punches. We will never see the mo hawked rock star, who was truly the first mega star (and at one point the only) in the UFC.
For the Liddell and the UFCthe choice is an easy one. He no longer has the chin and the reflexes to compete with the best. He could fit a mid level guy, but that would be doing Liddell and his career an injustice. He fights the best. He is a main event fighter. Enough said.
If Saturday’s outcome wasn’t a knockout Chuck would have wanted another chance. Had he lost a decision or been submitted he may have wanted one more crack at it. But it almost seems fitting that the guy who grew the sport and was absolutely fearless inside the cage didn’t hesitate once Saturday night, came right for Franklin and took a knockout punch for his troubles. That was Chuck Liddell and that’s why so many fans loved him. He loved to fight. He was fearless. Facing retirement from fighting, and coming off back to back knockout losses, he went for it and came up short.
He will go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time and helped the sport grow like no other. Liddell went from making $2,500 a fight 10 years ago, to blazing a trail for he and other fights to have multi million dollar pay days many times a year.
Thanks for the memories Chuck. You are leaving behind a sport that is strong and growing by the minute. Much of this can be attributed to you. There was no shame is losing Saturday night. You did it guns a blazing. You did it your way, which is why you will be so remembered and so missed.