UFC president Dana White announced at Wednesday's UFC 125 press conference in Las Vegas that "The Iceman" was walking away from active competition to accept a position as the new UFC executive vice president of business development.
"I want to thank Frank [Fertitta], Lorenzo [Fertitta] and Dana [White] for everything they've done for me over the years and for the sport. Most of all, I want to thank my fans, my family," Liddell said before choking up.
"I love this sport and I'm excited going into a new stage in my life and keep promoting the best sport in the world and the sport I love. They're giving me the opportunity again to keep promoting and keep doing stuff now that I'm retired."
The 41-year-old Liddell ends his legendary career with a 21-8 record.
He made his MMA and UFC debut at UFC 17 on May 15, 1998, defeating Noe Hernandez via unanimous decision. After losing to Jeremy Horn at UFC 19, Liddell would go on to win his next 10 fights in a row before losing an interim light heavyweight title fight to Randy Couture at UFC 43.
Liddell finally captured the 205-pound title at UFC 52 in April 2005, defeating Couture in the second round. He would successfully defend the title four straight times before losing the belt to Quinton Jackson at UFC 71.
That loss marked the end of Liddell's dominance in the UFC, as he went 1-4 in his next five fights, including losing his most recent three fights in a row. Liddell's last fight will go down as a UFC 115 first round TKO loss to Rich Franklin.
"For the last 10 years, more than 10 years, Chuck Liddell has been more than I can say. All the guys sitting up here, myself, my partners owe a lot to Chuck Liddell. He's been, like I said, more than a friend, more than a fighter, more than a champion," White said.
No exact details were given about Liddell's new position within the company.
"He's on level and on par with all the top executives," White said. "There's about five or six of us, and Chuck Liddell is now one of them."
UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta added that Liddell's stature within the sport will be of great assistance to the UFC's global expansion plans.
"Chuck will be involved in many different things as vice president of business development. He'll be working on not only the obvious regulatory issues, fighter relations, but mainly new business development."
Latest From MMA Warehouse
- Cain Velasquez UFC 160 Walkout Shirt
- Vitor Belfort UFC on FX 8 Photo Shirt
- Vitor Belfort UFC on FX 8 Cornerman Shirt
- Chael Sonnen UFC 159 Walkout Shirt
- Henderson UFC on FOX 7 Walkout Shirt
- Nate Diaz UFC on FOX 7 Walkout Shirt
- GSP UFC 158 Walkout Shirt
- UFC Walkout Clothing
- More: MMA Clothing | MMA Gear | MMA Shorts | MMA Gloves | MMA Shirts