Exclusive Interview: Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell

By Percy Crawford


Exclusive Interview: Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell

“I like Rampage, but I can’t wait to go out there and knock him out!”

Boxingtalk.com recently caught up with UFC light heavyweight champion and future Hall of Famer, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell to talk about his much anticipated rematch against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Liddell talks about knocking out Rampage as well as Mirko Cro Cop. You don’t want to miss what he had to say about Wanderlei Silva’s loss to Dan Henderson as well as a Chuck Liddell/ Fedor Emelianenko showdown. Check it out!

PC: How is everything going Chuck?

CL: It’s going good. I just came off of being sick, but I’m feeling really good and I’m in good shape. I’m in very good shape from being 9 weeks out, so I’m good.

PC: I know you’re coming off a bad case of pneumonia. Have you beaten it totally or do you have lingering effects from it?

CL: Yeah, I’m good. I just went in for my last checkup with my doctor. Had some X-rays done and everything. He wanted to make sure everything was cleaned up and everything looked good, so he’s real happy.

PC: You’re back training now. How is your training going and how do you feel after each session?

CL: I feel great. Like I say, I think I’m in great shape after being out 9 weeks.

PC: It appears you will be fighting Rampage on May 26th. Can you confirm that?

CL: I think so. I think that’s what they’re supposed to be announcing today. That’s what I was told; yeah.

PC: You’ve wanted that rematch for a long time. How does it feel to know it’s finally going to happen?

CL: It feels great man. I’ve been waiting to get it. Rampage is a tough guy and I like Rampage, but I can’t wait to go out there and knock him out.

PC: What do you have to do this time around to change the outcome of the first fight?

CL: A lot comes down to the training and being ready for it and just getting after it. I think I’m a lot different fighter and I’ve improved a lot. I think he’s going to have a lot of trouble fighting me this time.

PC: Rampage was looking to get another fight or two in before he fought you. Are you ok with him being your next opponent?

CL: I’m fine with it. It’s kind of however it works. I’ve always let them pick whoever I was going to fight and I’ve never turned down a fight. If he wants a couple more afterwards and then he wants me again, I’ll still be here.

PC: You are 37 years old. How much longer do you think you could compete at this level?

CL: Well I’m hoping for a while. Look at Randy, Randy is still doing good. He came back and won the heavyweight title. We’ll see. I like fighting, I like what I do. As long as my body keeps responding and me and John feel good about the way my body is responding, I’ll keep fighting.

PC: Did you watch the Wanderlei Silva/ Dan Henderson fight and how disappointed were you that he lost considering he was looking like your next opponent?

CL: Well I was disappointed, you know? I think it would have been a big fight and a fight that you could really push, but like I said, I would knock him out in the first round every time we fought. I just hit too hard for him. He’s a guy that would have to stand there and exchange with me because he don’t have any takedowns. He’s been knocked out 2 fights in a row. Dan Henderson is a great fighter and a great guy, but he’s really a 185 pounder. Dan has got a good overhand right and a little bit of power, so I told everybody he would be trouble for Wanderlei.

PC: I know you’re not overlooking Rampage, but the biggest fight to be made in MMA would be you against Cro Cop. How do you think that fight would play out?

CL: I think I could knock him out. I was watching him in his last fight and maybe he was a little rusty or whatever, but if he comes out and fights the way he did last time, I think I could drop him.

PC: Is Chuck Liddell at heavyweight a realistic option for you in the future?

CL: Well it’s possible, yeah. Fedor is supposed to be the best heavyweight in the world. A lot of people rank him as the best heavyweight and I watched him fight and I think I match up well with him. He’s a little shorter than me, he walks around 230 for weigh-ins and I would walk into the ring about 218, so I would be giving up 15 pounds or so, but that’s not a big stretch.

PC: What did you think of UFC 68?

CL: I think it was pretty good. It went pretty good. I thought a couple guys could’ve put up a better fight than they did, but it was all in all a good show. Randy just shows that he gets after it. He’s tenacious and he keeps coming after you. If you let him play his game, he’s going to beat you.

PC: Matt Hughes got away from his wrestling for a few fights because he wanted badly to knock someone out. Will it ever be a time we see Chuck Liddell abandon his striking and wanting a submission?

CL: I enjoy knocking people out (laughing). If someone gives me a submission and it’s there and I just happen to catch it, you know I train in it. I’ve been training submissions for 9 years. If somebody just gives it to me, I’ll take it. I had a submission early in my career; it was a really early fight. I had a guy tie up with me and he kept turning his back away from me. I kneed him in the leg and he didn’t want to get kneed anymore so he turned his back to me and I landed a rear naked from standing, but that’s not something I’m hunting for. If someone gives it to me, I’ll take it though. I do what I do well. I strike with guys and I’m good at getting out of position and getting back on my feet if I get taken down. I want to sit out there and bang.

PC: Rampage is known for his slams and ground game. I think a lot of people forget your extensive wrestling background because of your striking. Do you fear this fight going to the ground at all?

CL: I don’t think he’s going to be able to take me down. If you make a mistake out there, you can be taken down. I think if he takes me down, I will get back to my feet. I’m not too worried about that. It’s going to be to the point where he’s going to have to get in there and exchange with me. It’s going to be who hits harder and who takes the better shot.

PC: You beat Tito Ortiz in your last fight and seem to have him out of the way. He’s going to be boxing Dana White on March 24th. Who do you like in that fight?

CL: You know, I’m hoping Dana does real well with him. Tito really doesn’t hit hard enough to hurt Dana; Dana can take a pretty good shot. It’s a whole different game, boxing, kickboxing and MMA. You have to train different for all of them. I don’t think people really get it, but if you take a real good boxer and you put them in a kickboxing ring, it’s hard to box. He probably has a lot better hands than the kickboxer, but when he starts getting kicked in the leg and the distance changes, now all of a sudden your timing’s off. It’s the same if you could wrestle. You have to change your stands to block the wrestling takedowns and that makes your timing all off with your boxing. If you have a guy standing up in a regular boxing stance, you can’t stop the takedowns. You could get one punch off and then the guy is going to put you on your back.

PC: I appreciate the interview Chuck. Is there anything you want to say in closing?

CL: Just tell the fans to keep watching the fights man!


Send questions and comments to: nardfan@bellsouth.net