Chuck Liddell: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Mar 30 08:27 2009 MMA Omniscient Print This Article

UFC, ultimate fighting, MMA, mixed martial arts, Chuck Liddell, Iceman, Maurico Rua, Shogan,

On April 18th,Guest Posting 2009, in Montreal Canada, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell returns to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for what will be his 26th professional fight.  As far as I’m concerned, we all owe Chuck a great deal for everything he has given us.  He has given MMA fans some of the greatest moments in the history of the sport.  I mean, how exhilarating was it to watch him bludgeon Tito Ortiz after all his gum-flapping?  How great was it to watch him avenge his loss to Randy Couture in such devastating fashion?  Chuck is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest fighters of all time; sure, he’s getting a little long in the tooth, but who really cares?  I know I don’t.  Personally, I’m glad he has decided not to retire.  He is the gift that keeps on giving.  Thirty years from now, I would still watch an elderly Chuck Liddell fight some bowlegged geezer in a nursing home.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has had an enormously successful career in PRIDE; he has beaten some of the sport’s top fighters including Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Kevin Randleman, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, and Alistair Overeem.  However, the success he had in PRIDE did not travel with him to the United States.  It must have gotten lost with his luggage; goddamn baggage handlers!  Rua was expected to come into the UFC and wreak havoc on the light heavyweight division; to date, this prophecy has not come to pass.

In his first UFC fight, Shogun faced Forrest Griffin, who many analysts thought would be an easy fight for him.  However, Forrest silenced the critics by dominating Rua for three rounds before submitting him.  There is no real intelligent way to put it, so I am just going to say that Forrest kicked the living shit out of him.  Of course, the critics hate to eat their words so, after the fight, there was all this talk about Shogun’s injuries.  Be that as it may, there are no excuses in MMA.  When a fighter decides to take a fight, he is basically communicating that he is healthy enough to do it.  If you are too injured to fight, DON’T FRIGGIN’ FIGHT!!

In his second UFC fight, Shogun faced a superannuated Mark “The Hammer” Coleman.  Perhaps the powers that be in the UFC thought a 44 year-old has-been was just the thing to jumpstart the domination we were all waiting for.  Once again, it was not to be.  Although Shogun did end up getting his first UFC victory, it was a subpar performance.  It was glaringly obvious that Rua was out of shape; he started sucking wind as early as the middle of the first round.  It looked like two fighters in their forties going at it, rather than one forty-something and an up-and-coming 28 year-old.  In my opinion, Coleman was 24 seconds away from a decision victory before he was caught with a punch and ultimately TKO’d.  Rua won, what I would call, another shit-show.

 If Rua comes into this fight looking like he did in his last two, Chuck Liddell should have an easy night.  Even if he does manage to pull it together and shows up in shape for the fight, stylistically, it is not a good match-up for Shogun.  Why?   Because he’s a fighter that throws caution to the wind and comes straight at his opponents.  We all know that Liddell is at his best when he is being stalked; he is more dangerous when he is backing up than when he is moving forward.  Chuck is one of the best counter-punchers the octagon has ever seen.  More importantly, it is widely known that the last thing an aging fighter loses is his punching power, and Chuck has oodles of it.

Even though Chuck has lost three of his last four fights, I still think he has more than enough in his arsenal to deal with Rua.  I see Shogun chasing Liddell only to be caught with one of those thunderous, bone-jarring punches he has been so generous with over the course of his career.  You know what else I see?  I see Shogun lying on his back with a referee crouched over him waving his arms.  Thank god for “The Iceman,” the gift that keeps on giving.

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