UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell has called out NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley as potential boxing opponents.
Liddell, 51, hasn’t fought in MMA since his knockout loss to long-time rival Tito Ortiz in their 2018 trilogy bout. It was the Iceman’s first fight since his UFC retirement in 2010, which came after three straight knockout losses.
Perhaps there’s no fighter for whom the old fight game adage “father time defeats all” applies more than Liddell. At the peak of his UFC career, he was one of the most feared light heavyweight champions, defending his title four times against the likes of Randy Couture and Ortiz.
Once known for his iron chin, Liddell’s ability to absorb a punch has been on a steep decline for some time. But this hasn’t stopped him from angling for another fight. Liddell recently joined the ever-growing list of MMA fighters to call out Jake Paul. And now he says he’s open to facing human giant Shaq in a celebrity boxing match.
“Yeah, Shaq would be a fun one, change it up and try to reach Shaq,” Liddell told former UFC commentator Jimmy Smith during an interview on SiriusXM (h/t Derek Hall of MiddleEasy).
Chuck Liddell Not Fazed by Shaq’s Size
Shaq, who stands at just over 7 feet tall and weighs 325lbs, has trained in MMA since 2000. His only televised fight was a 2009 sparring match against Oscar De La Hoya. Both fighters wore protective head gear for the fight, with De La Hoya earning a unanimous decision win.
With Liddell standing at 6ft 2in and known for fighting at 205 lbs, a potential fight between the duo would possibly be one of the most mismatched catchweight affairs in history.
But Liddell feels he has what it takes to handle the size differential.
“You gotta remember, one of my sparring partners for a long time was 6’10,” Liddell said. “So it’s not big, but I trained with Gan McGee for forever, and my brother is 6’4, 6’5, 300lb. But standing next to Shaq, Shaq’s a big man… I’m always around big guys, but Shaq’s one of those few guys you go up to and go ‘Damn, Shaq’s big.’”
Liddell says he also has designs on Shaq’s fellow NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, over whom the “Iceman” seemingly has the psychological edge thanks to being the better golfer.
“Maybe Charles Barkley,” Liddell suggested as a potential boxing opponent. “He challenged me to come back and beat him in a golf tournament again. I beat him in a Tahoe tournament. I was second to last, but I beat him. I pulled it out in the last hole and beat Charles Barkley.”
A celebrity fight with Shaq or Barkley won’t be Liddell’s first foray into the zany world of celebrity boxing, or fights involving former NBA stars. He recently officiated the matchup between former Laker Lamar Odom and American rapper Aaron Carter.
What do you think? How would a fight between Chuck Liddell and Shaq play out?