Morning Report: Chuck Liddell believes an 'Iceman' in his prime would KO Jon Jones

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As Jon Jones prepares to defend his light heavyweight title to Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 this weekend, the man doing the best promotion for the bout might be Chuck Liddell. The UFC Hall of Famer turned executive hasn't been obscure on his homerism for former training partner Teixeira, but Liddell's posture on Jones borders on hostile. On Monday Liddell chided Jones for failing to compete at UFC 151 in 2012, a decision that called for the event to be cancelled. He also remarked that Jones' unanimous decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 was a draw 'at best.'

Speaking with Fox Sports, Liddell now says he believes he could have finished the champ in his prime.

"I think I would have been a horrible matchup for him," said Liddell. "I would have walked through his punches and he wouldn't have caught me with anything.

"I would have found a way to hit him and I hit too hard."

Although technically not undefeated, Jones was rarely tested prior to Gustafsson dragging him into deeper waters. Liddel, who credits his trademark power to training under famed coach John Hackleman, says Jones still hasn't developed that ability.

"I think it's too early to tell," Liddell said. "If he finds his punching power -- a good straight [cross], a good hook -- then we'll see. I mean, not only score with it, but hurt somebody. Then we're talking."

As far as predictions go, Liddell doesn't see Jones making it to the championship rounds. "I think [Glover] either hurts [Jones] with a punch and he shoots and submits him, or knocks him out," Liddell said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I'm not sure which one, but it's one of those things. Doesn't get past [round] three."

Sour grapes or not, Jones has already surpassed many of Liddell's deeds in nearly half the time, including consecutive UFC wins (10-7), title victories (7-5) and successful defenses (6-4). Tied at seven, Jones edges Liddell out again this Saturday by competing in his eighth UFC title bout.

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