Four months after his most recent fight, a loss to Shogun Rua at UFC 97, Chuck Liddell is relaxing and enjoying life. But he's not ready to say he's retired.
In an interview Wednesday with FanHouse, Liddell said that he doesn't know if he'll fight again, and he doesn't know when he'll be ready to retire. Liddell wants to determine the future of his career on his own schedule, and he's only going to decide for sure after he gets back in the gym and tests himself again.
Liddell also talked about connecting with the fans, dealing with a Twitter imposter, and his acting career. The full interview is below.
Michael David Smith: Let's start with the question everyone is asking: Will we see you fight again?
Chuck Liddell: I don't know. I don't know what my final decision will be. It's hard for an athlete to quit what he's done his whole life. So I don't know. I'm going to make the right decision for me, and that decision could come in a couple months. But we'll see.
Dana White has made it very clear that he doesn't want you to fight. Do you wish he'd keep that opinion to himself and let you make your own decision?
He's an opinionated guy. That's how he is. He says what's on his mind, and that's why I like him: You always know what he's thinking. So that doesn't bother me.
What kind of time frame are you working on? If you decide to fight again when will that be, or if you decide to call it quits when would you officially retire?
I've always said I'm going to make that decision in the gym, not in the ring. After some time off I'll get back in the gym, throw some punches and take some punches and see how I feel again, and after that I'll make my decision.
You've lost four of your last five. If you do fight again, what do you think you need to work on to start winning again?
Well, some things work and some things don't, and for me, the way I was fighting, I was getting hit too much and taking too much damage. Things were hurting me that didn't used to hurt me. So I think I need to work on my timing and my head movement.
What do you think of Tito Ortiz returning to the UFC?
It is what it is. He's coming back and doing what he wants to do.
You've already beaten him twice. Would you like to beat him a third time?
Well, I always enjoy beating him up, but I don't see that unless he has a few wins. He'd need to have a win or two for that to make sense.
Dana has said he'd like you to be sort of an ambassador for the sport. Is connecting with fans the kind of thing you want to do more of?
Yes, for sure. I love the fans and I love the sport, so anything I can help out with in any way, I'm going to. I'm also doing this Sports Legends Challenge, where there are 25 of us sports legends going to the Bahamas and playing some poker with a bunch of fans.
Another question about connecting with fans: Are you on Twitter?
No, I'm not.
Are you aware that there's a fake Chuck Liddell on Twitter with more than 11,000 followers?
Yeah, I know, and it's ridiculous. People have called me and asked me about my Twitter, and it's not me. I think I'm going to need to take it over or get it taken down or whatever and have an official one so people know if they see something with my name on it, it's coming from me. That's why I got on MySpace, too. There was some guy on there telling people he was me, people were sending e-mails to him and he was replying like he was me, he was telling people I was going to meet them somewhere, he was telling girls to send him pictures.
You mentioned wanting to connect with the fans. Do you see the value of Twitter in doing that?
Yeah, I don't do a lot of that -- I don't like the online chats or post on message boards -- but if I get on Twitter I'll tell fans what I'm doing.
What's up with your acting career?
I've got some things coming up. I have some meetings next week talking to people about some roles. It's something I enjoy.
Everyone knows you were in Entourage and you've done some other stuff, but you were a child actor long before you were a fighter, right?
Yeah, I was in The Postman Always Rings Twice with Jack Nicholson. That was fun. I think I made like $33 or something. I got to miss a whole day of school, and when you're a little kid, that's cool.
What did you think of UFC 101?
I thought it was a good show. B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva winning was what I thought would happen, but it was a good show.
What do you make of Anderson Silva? Could he move up and win the light heavyweight belt that you owned for a couple years?
Anderson Silva is a tough guy, man. He's dangerous. He's got heavy hands and he's not afraid to throw them. He's a dangerous opponent for anyone.
Are you still watching a lot of MMA even though you're taking some time off from fighting yourself?
Absolutely, I watch all the fights I can.
Are you going to do more training of younger fighters?
I'll decide that when I make a final decision about whether I'm fighting again. Lately I've been doing other things and haven't had much time to train guys, but that's something I want to do. I like working with younger fighters.
What do you like about coaching?
I like the personal interaction. I like working on the finer points, improving the little things that can make a big difference that the younger fighters don't always know about.
When you look at where the UFC is now compared to where it was when you first started fighting, how much more popular it is and how the sport has grown, do you take a lot of personal pride in that? You were one of the best and most popular fighters and you had a lot to do with its growth.
I don't know if I'm the one who gets credit, but I'm proud of where the sport is, and I think it's still going to get bigger. It's a great sport and it's going to get a lot bigger than what it is. Mixed martial arts is great, and it's here to stay.