The Way It Is (and not much else)
Where Do We Go From Here? (Liddell-Rampage II Aftermath)
Written By: Rich Davidson
Chuck Liddell was a great champion.
There is no doubt that Chuck Liddell helped bring the UFC to the mainstream and is a large contributor to the recent and ongoing success of mixed martial arts in North America.
He just got caught Saturday night.
Liddell wasn't out of shape, he didn't take Quinton Jackson lightly, and from what we know he was not injured. Randy Couture, one of the greatest fighters to ever grace the octagon was "caught" twice by Liddell himself. It's only fitting the karma police were in attendance Saturday night.
I was standing before Chuck even hit the ground. It had to be over, and it was. Even though I felt like Luke Skywalker after he destroyed the death star as I watched Rampage howl in victory, you couldn't help but feel for The Iceman.
Liddell is a great fighter. You have to respect what the man has accomplished throughout his career. Although I was all-smiles after UFC 71 as I thought back to all the hate mail and flack I received over my last column, I was still in shock that people actually questioned if Chuck's career as a mixed martial artist was over.
There are still plenty of fights to be had. The Wanderlei Silva-Chuck Liddell confrontation will be dynamite (it was announced Saturday that this will likely be the next match-up for Liddell) Even IF the fight has lot some of its appeal after recent Silva/Liddell losses, it still marks a monumental battle between the face of Pride FC, and the face of the UFC.
With Zuffa's recent acquisition of Pride FC, fights with Ricardo Arona, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and Dan Henderson are all also possibilities in the future.
Don't forget about upcoming UFC talent either. Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Michael Bisping, and even Forrest Griffin could be future opponents for Liddell.
Sure, there's no real point in having a Chuck-Rampage III, considering The Iceman was beaten decisively in the first two fights. That's not how trilogies typically work. Even still, if Rampage can't get by Dan Henderson (his first challenger for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title) with a couple of wins, Liddell could be right back in the title picture.
I'd also like to mention the possibility of Chuck Liddell moving up to heavyweight. Couture did the opposite, moving DOWN to light heavyweight after a few losses at heavyweight and experienced great success. Liddell has expressed interest in doing so, and it could make for some classic battles.
Fights with Andrei Arlovski, Brandon Vera, and Mirko Cro Cop all have the makings of classic confrontations. Liddell also tossed Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko's name into the mix. This particular fight could be the biggest and most profitable in MMA history with the proper marketing and buildup.
These are all possibilities straight from the former Light Heavyweight Champion, but don't put too much stock in them. Dana White holds all the cards in the end.
If Chuck stays in good health, many of these fights could actually come to be.
The Way It Is: Chuck Liddell didn't have a poor showing, it just wasn't meant to be this past Saturday night. History shows us that a tough knockout loss can happen to anyone, at any time. Liddell is a great fighter, and was a great champion. He'll bounce back.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on the other hand is the new face of the UFC at 205 lbs. He's extremely charismatic and has all the physical skills and attributes to have a great run as champion. The UFC marketing machine and Rampage will take each other to new heights in both revenue and popularity. Wait and see.
On a personal note: I have no problem answering emails from educated MMA fans who have something positive or negative to say about something I've written. I love debating mixed martial arts and possible outcomes. I base everything I say on history and fact and if you disagree with me in some way, shape, or form, I would love to hear from you.
However, for all the uneducated Chuck Liddell fanboys who love his Mohawk and badass head tattoo... I try to stay proffesional and all, but...
I told you so!
Contact Rich about his above column by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the forums directly in the public eye at this link.
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