Chuck Liddell: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira needs to make own decision on retirement

Esther Lin

UFC president Dana White recently stated he wants former PRIDE and UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to retire.

The legendary Nogeuira, who turns 38 in June, lost via first-round KO to Roy Nelson in Abu Dhabi a couple weeks back. That was the fifth time he's been finished in his past eight fights.

If anyone can sympathize with how difficult it can be to walk away from the bright lights and adulation that comes with prizefighting, it's another fellow legend. On Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell sympathized with Nogeuira's situation.

"Its one of those things, you gotta be happy with your own decision," Liddell said."He's the one who make the decision. I don't know. I'm not close enough to him to know. I don't like making that decision for anybody. It's your own choice."

Liddell says that it was tough to walk away in large part because he found he could still get the job done in training on a week-in, week-out basis.

"it's tough, at that point, you're enjoying life," Liddell said. "Especially when you're training, you're still doing good, still training with guys no problem, you're still training with guys at that level and can still do stuff, that makes it hard."

When the time came, though, Liddell says that he made what could have been a tough conversation with White easy.

"Me and Dana talked," Liddell said. "He was worried I was going to beg him to fight again, I came in and told him I was going to retire, he was more than happy, a sigh of relief came out of him. He said OK, good, I thought there was going to be an argument here."

Of course, Liddell had to go through a tough stretch to get there, including a brutal knockout at the hands of Rich Franklin in the closing seconds of the first round of their UFC 115 fight.

Although he was knocked out in under seven minutes in each of his final three career fights, Liddell says he came out of his career unscathed.

Oh, and by the way, one thing hasn't changed about "The Iceman" in retirement: He still has no love for Tito Ortiz. Asked about Ortiz's upcoming return to fighting, Liddell said "I really don't care, honestly. I didn't know he was still fighting."

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