Chuck Liddell became one of the biggest figures in MMA, and continues to be so even though he hasn’t fought in three years, because of his aggressive style and KO power (having a trademark look and very marketable nickname also didn’t hurt). Case in point, from 2004 through 2006 “The Iceman” recorded seven straight victories via TKO or knockout.
Liddell also closed out his career getting knocked out three consecutive times, but according to the 43 legend, he’d rather have gone out that way than “bore” fans. In a recent interview with Inside MMA, Liddell was asked what the biggest issue in MMA currently is, and the former champ had this to say (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?”
“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.”
Some might argue it would have been interesting to see Liddell “play it safe”, in terms of whether he could have scored some high profile wins and extend his career. Others, of course, likely enjoy reflecting on Liddell’s storied career just the way it went.