Most people would agree that fighters today are better conditioned and skilled than ever before, but there’s also a growing number of people who are concerned that some competitors are fighting too conservatively rather than looking to finish fights. One of these people is evidently Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, who certainly knows a thing or two about spoiling his opponent’s night with a crushing punch, rather than the judge’s scorecards.
Liddell recently spoke to AXS TV’s “Inside MMA” program, and when the 43 year-old legend was asked what is the biggest issue facing MMA today, the former champ answered (quote via Mixed Martial Arts.com):
“I’m probably not going to be popular with the fighters with this one, but my biggest problem is guys playing it safe,” said Liddell. “I understand it from a coach’s standpoint and a manager’s standpoint. I understand why you’d want to play it safe and win the fight, win every fight. I get it. But do I want to watch a guy go beat a guy for four rounds and then ride him the fifth round not doing anything?
“You want to be worth more? Go out and fight. Have fun. Knock people out. Submit them. Beat them. I don’t care. Just go try to finish a fight.”
“That’s one of the reasons I retired. To stick around, the way I was fighting, I’d have to start playing it safe. I went out on my shield. That’s the way I liked it. I fought that way my whole career. I don’t want to bore people my last three or four fights.”
In case you can’t recall, Liddell’s storied career came to an end, after incurring consecutive stoppage losses to Rashad Evans, “Shogun” Rua and Rich Franklin. His last victory came in 2007, when he outscored Wanderlei Silva for the UD win at UFC 79, in what was an epic battle. Now, some may argue that Liddell’s aggressive style cut his career short, but it was that strategy and approach that made him one of the sport’s biggest stars to date.