Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, UFC Hall of Famer and MMA legend Chuck Liddell (21-8-0) has announced his un-retirement and potential comeback plans, to simultaneous moaning and applause from across the world. Chuck broke the news himself to Ariel Helwani and the world on the MMA Hour, stating that he “will fight again”, despite being 48 years old, 8 years removed from his last professional MMA bout and almost 11 years removed from his last win.
Asked what his motivation was for the return to fighting, Chuck confidently replied that he “never stopped missing it” and believes he is able to succeed. However, he won’t be making his return in the UFC, with promotional duties looking to be carried out by boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Though the former 6-time world boxing champion has never promoted MMA before, according to both Chuck himself and an Instagram post by Tito Ortiz, a fight between the (also) retired, former UFC light heavyweight champion may be in the works. If that fight were to fall through, Chuck would still be “going to give it a shot. It’ll be somebody else, one of the guys from my past probably, most likely, and we’ll see where I’m at”.
Should Mr Liddell get cleared by an athletic commission, this will be the first time he has competed outside the UFC banner since a TKO loss to Rampage Jackson in Pride Final Conflict 2003, although he did also pick up a win 3 months prior to that against a fresh-faced Alistair Overeem. Add to this the fact that his previous 3 losses (also his last 3 fights) were all lost by TKO or KO, the cards are certainly stacked against Chuck for success in a late return, and as recently as last year, his longtime coach John Hackleman said the following; “But even $3 million, I don’t think that would be enough to put his life at risk and his legacy at risk. Because his legacy, not only for his own self-esteem but his legacy for his future earnings as well, could be worth a hell of a lot more than $3 million and tarnishing it to a certain degree, that might not be worth it. So it would all depend on the opponent.”
Will Chuck make the walk again? Will it be a rubber match with Tito Ortiz? Time will tell, and though many fans will groan and cry for the health and legacy of a former great, I’m sure I and many others will tune in regardless and see if “The Iceman” can dust off his famous overhand right one more time for the fans.