UFC Legend Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell has a lot on his plate these days. Not only does he have to prepare for his fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but he has the knowledge now that even a win will not secure his future in the UFC.
UFC President Dana White gave a statement to the Canadian Press that he loves Chuck Liddell as a person, and that he has made it clear to Chuck that he’s going to need to do more than win the fight. Chuck will need to dazzle White if he expects to continue fighting. “I love him, and I don’t want to ever see what I saw in his last fight again.” White stated.
White is of course referring to Chuck’s fight with Rashad Evans, which ended with Liddell in an out cold pile of himself on the mat.
Chuck’s losses to both Keith Jardine and Evans have put his future as a fighter under a great deal of scrutiny. Even his win against the very dangerous Wanderlai “The Axe Murderer” Silva wasn’t enough to shake the speculation. This largely due to the fact that Wanderlai is currently under the same scrutiny himself.
So when Chuck walks down the aisle at UFC 97, stops to smile and waves his signature double “hang loose” gesture, in the back of Chuck’s mind will have to be the knowledge that this may be the last time he makes this walk. With this in mind I find myself feeling sorry for Rua.
Mauricio Rua is far from a nobody. He established himself heavily while in Pride and has a huge fan base of hardcore American fans absolutely excited at his arrival. He has seemingly no end to his cardio as shown in his past fights, and he’s immensely brutal on the ground.
Unfortunately for Rua, Liddell is the exact kind of fighter you need to be to beat Rua. Liddell is an awesome striker, and not someone Rua is going to get down to the mat for very long. Now add on to that Chuck’s hunger to get his title back and remain relevant in the sport. I hate to say it Rua fans, but Mauricio is going to get his butt stomped at UFC 97.
Unless of course Greg Jackson is right. Jackson who helped train both Jardine and Evans was quoted saying that Chuck always does the same things. If this still rings true, then hopefully Rua’s camp was listening.
John Hackleman, Liddell’s trainer, is reported to have been working diligently to tighten up Chuck’s game and to take away some of the predictability that Liddell exposed to Evans and Jardine.
One thing is certain. When Liddell enters the octagon in Montreal, he’s planning to bring all hell down on Rua. Personally I can’t wait to see it.