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Chuck Liddell expands game with American Top Team

Throughout Chuck Liddell's career the future UFC Hall of Famer has been synonymous with one camp, longtime friend John Hackleman's The Pit in Arroyo Grande, Calif.

But after three tough losses in his last four fights, Liddell (21-6) has enlisted members of the American Top Team for his training camp in preparation for Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (17-3) at UFC 97 on April 18 in Montreal.

"It was a great experience when I was out there for a little bit," Liddell said in a recent conference call. "And then Howard Davis [was] with me for about seven weeks or so out here in my training camp. So it's been really good working with him."

Judging from his last three recent losses, opponents have apparently figured out Liddell's game. Keith Jardine, exploiting Liddell's inability to defend leg kicks, scored enough points to win a split decision at UFC 76 in September 2007. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rashad Evans were both able to knock out Liddell with a countering right hook.

The selection of Davis Jr. is a strong one for Liddell's camp. Davis Jr. was the 1976 Olympic gold medalist in boxing and is currently the boxing director for the American Top Team.

"I think he's helped my foot work and defense a lot," Liddell said. "And I'm looking forward to showing some of the new stuff I've learned."

As for Liddell's ground game, Hackleman reached out to American Top Team founder Ricardo Liborio and secured the services of Daniello Villefort (9-2), a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo black belt who will soon debut for the UFC.

Long criticized for relying on the same training camp, it'll be interesting to see how Liddell comes out for this matchup and if he can pull off the much-needed win.

Time for War: Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua