The Iceman may be retired, but that will not stop the former champion from calling people out and reminding them who the best of all time was. On the heels of the hotly anticipated UFC 172 this Saturday night, the pre-fight chatter is not what most would expect. Jon Jones is defending his light-heavyweight championship belt against Glover Teixeira, but all anyone can talk about is another possible fight. In a recent interview, the Iceman said that in his hay-day he could have easily beaten the champ and expects his sparing partner (Glover) to do the same thing. After all the talk, and a never say quit attitude, many are starting to ask if Chuck Liddell, the Iceman himself, may be making a comeback to the octagon, or is it all pre-fight garbage.
All the speculation started when the Iceman was discussing the current champion and what he thought about him. One of the criticisms was when Jon Jones rescinded from UFC 151 after his planned opponent, Dan Henderson, had to cancel the fight because he was injured while training. UFC President Dana White said the fight would go on and Jones would face Chael Sonnen, with two weeks to prepare. Jones, who boasts a record of 19-1, refused to fight Sonnen on short notice which led to the entire even being cancelled; he eventually did fight Sonnen and easily won.
But the move did not sit well with fans and it did not sit well with the Iceman either. In an interview, the Iceman said he really should have taken the fight and that when he was champion he would have definitely taken it. He cited that fighters are trained to fight just about anyone, and although Sonnen was a lefty and Jones was planning on fighting a righty, it should have not been enough reason to cancel the fight. Now, as the UFC prepares for another chapter in Jon Jone’s careered story book, there are some questioning whether or not his next opponent may be the 44-year-old Iceman. Though he was insulted, the light-heavyweight champion responded but did not retaliate and insult the retired Iceman, rather, he said he would welcome him out of retirement any time and would enjoy the opportunity to fight one of the UFC’s all-time greats. He has not responded directly to this, and it would be a major surprise for him to comeback, but there are only a few men at 44 who fans could see making this type of move, and Chuck Liddell is one of them.
Chuck Liddell was known for his chin of granite and his ability to defend against any take down. He was not built like a traditional fighter, his chest was practically concave and he was a wiry as he was broad, but still, there was no denying his skill. He had 13 career knockouts out of 21 total wins. Talking with the media, the Iceman believed that he could have easily beaten Jones in his prime, and some think he could still do it today. He said he would have easily walked through his punches and knocked him out.
Jones is not only one of the best light-heavyweight champions the UFC has ever seen (he is basically undefeated; his only loss came as a disqualification over a questionable call), he is also one of the smartest. One of the reasons why he has been so successful, and did not take the UFC 151 fight on short notice, is because he wants to vet his opponent as much as he can. The Iceman, on the other hand, was a true brawler and he was smart. He could train months and beat his opponent, or he could randomly meet him on the street and have the same outcome. A fight between these two would be much more than Randy Couture fighting Brock Lesnar, it would be two of the undisputed bests of all time, and an aged Iceman has to be better than a punch-drunk Couture. Alas, Chuck Liddell has been retired since 2010 and has a nice front office job with the UFC, so making a comeback is very unlikely. Still, it is fun to think about and would make a great fight.
Commentary by Chris Dragicevich
Follow Chris on Twitter