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Matt Hughes, Frank Mir, Kenny Florian: Chuck Liddell Should Keep Fighting

Although most fans and members of the media seem to think we saw Chuck Liddell fight for the final time at UFC 97, some of Liddell's fellow fighters disagree with the conventional wisdom that he's finished.

I spoke with Matt Hughes on Thursday, and he told me he doesn't believe Liddell is done.

"I don't think so," Hughes told me. "Chuck is still dangerous to anybody. Anybody that thinks that if Chuck Liddell hits them they won't go down is wrong. Chuck is a threat to anybody. As a friend I hope he doesn't leave the sport for two reasons: Number one, I like him and I like watching him. Number two, I still think he's good enough to do some serious damage to people."

And on the most recent episode of ESPN's MMA Live, UFC interim heavyweight champion Frank Mir and UFC lightweight No. 1 contender Kenny Florian both said they disagree with the rush to force Liddell to hang up the gloves.

"I don't believe so," Mir said when asked if we've seen the end of Liddell's career. "First of all, you can't make a decision for another guy, another man. You can't tell him to hang it up. He has to make that decision for himself. ... I think as long as he can pass a physical exam ... I don't see the problem with allowing Chuck to make that decision for himself and end his career when he thinks he should end his career."

Florian added, "I agree with Frank in that if there's nothing medically wrong with Chuck there's no one telling him he should stop fighting."

Florian said he believes that if Liddell is going to continue to fight, Liddell needs to improve his training to evolve as a well-rounded mixed martial artist. But Florian seems to think it's possible for Liddell, even at age 39, to improve as a fighter and return to the Octagon.

UFC President Dana White is adamant that Liddell needs to stop fighting. But the type of person who becomes an elite MMA fighter isn't the type of person who walks away from a challenge, and that's why it's going to be hard for White to convince Liddell to quit -- and hard for his colleagues to see why he should.

Note: My full interview with Hughes, which focused mostly on his upcoming fight with Matt Serra at UFC 98, will appear later at MMA FanHouse.