On January 12, 2010 Chuck “Iceman” Liddell fought Rich “Ace” Franklin in the main event of UFC 115. Franklin knocked out Liddell in the first round effectively ending the Iceman’s mixed martial arts career. This was Liddell’s third consecutive loss all by knockout. Shortly after this fight UFC President, Dana White reported Chuck Liddell would not fight in the UFC again.
I was first introduced to Chuck Liddell while watching the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Chuck served as a coach and trainer along with fellow UFC legend, Randy Couture. This show is often credited as pushing the sport of MMA into the mainstream. Chuck was a big reason for this as both fighters who won were coached by the Iceman.
Liddell first began studying Koei-Kan karate when he was 12-years old. This was the first step in what would later become an extremely successful fight career. Koei-Kan along with Kempo are styles Chuck would continue to utilize throughout his career. He would later become a 4-year starter for the San Marcos High School football team in California. It was at this time Liddell would get his first taste of fighting.
According to Wikipedia, “While growing up in Santa Barbara, he often frequented the infamous Del Playa Drive, the middle of the party scene of the college town of Isla Vista, where he often found himself in fights with drunk college students.”
Later Chuck would attend college himself where he was a successful wrestler for California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The skills Chuck learned as a Division 1 wrestler would later translate into the legendary sprawl he would utilize so successfully most notably during his UFC championship reign.
Liddell’s website, icemanmma.com reports, “He began wrestling in college, and now uses those skills to defend against takedowns with an unorthodox, relaxed, hands-down stance. Preferring to deliver blows at an angle, he is noted for his exceptional takedown defense and knockout ability.”
Three years after graduating with a BA in business, Chuck would make his UFC debut with a decision victory over Noe Hernandez. Unbeknownst to those in attendance that night they were seeing the birth of a legend as this was the first fight in what would become a Hall of Fame MMA career.
Liddell would go on to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship while also defeating a who’s-who of mixed martial artists including, Tito Ortiz, Jeremy Horn, Renato Sobral, Vitor Belfort, and Wanderlei Silva. Chuck’s three fights with Randy ‘The Natural” Couture of which Chuck won two, are legendary in the MMA world, and are akin to the Ali-Frasier boxing matches.
Away from the octagon Chuck has achieved a level of success as well. In 208 his autobiography, Iceman: My Fighting Life became a New York Times Bestseller. Liddell was also the first fighter from the UFC to grace the cover of ESPN The Magazine when he appeared with his son in 2007. Earlier in 2010 he was also the first MMA fighter to have a wax likeness become part of the renowned Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas. Liddell has also been able to parlay his growing popularity into a number of film and television appearances often playing himself. This culminated in 2009 when he was part of the popular reality series, Dancing with the Stars.
Chuck “Iceman” Liddell has essentially become the face of MMA, and is easily its most recognizable star. He has gone from championship fighter to cultural icon. Though his career within the octagon may be over I am sure this is not the last fans will see of Liddell.
Chuck Liddell is a former champion and Hall of Fame fighter, a bestselling author, successful business man, actor, and father. Taking all this into account Liddell transcends the sports world. Though fans will not see Chuck plying his trade within the octagon and destroying opponents with highlight reel knockouts anymore there is no denying the Iceman has achieved superstar status.
“Chuck Liddell”, Wikipedia.com
“More About Chuck”, Icemanmma.com