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UFC 115: Rich Franklin KOs Chuck Liddell

Chuck Liddell, the biggest star the UFC has ever had, returned to the Octagon Saturday night at the age of 40 after more than a year away. It did not go well.

At the end of an action-packed first round, his opponent, Rich Franklin, landed a hard right hand that knocked Liddell cold, ending the main event at UFC 115 and likely ending Liddell's career.

It was a tremendous fight for as long as it lasted, as Liddell landed punches that hurt Franklin, took him down, and broke Franklin's left arm with a hard kick. But in the closing seconds of the first round, as Liddell chased Franklin toward the cage, Franklin hit Liddell square in the face with a hard right hand, knocking him unconscious.


"Early in the fight when Chuck kicked me in the body, when I blocked it he broke my left arm," Franklin said. "I could hear it clicking."

Franklin said that he would have continued fighting into the second round despite the broken arm, but he didn't have to, thanks to that textbook-perfect punch at the end of the first round.

Franklin deserves credit both for a great knockout win and for the classy way he conducted himself afterward, but all the talk in the MMA world in the days ahead will be about Liddell, and whether he'll ever fight again. He probably shouldn't. Liddell has now lost five of his last six fights, and he's been knocked unconscious in four of them. Everyone gets old eventually, and that has certainly happened to Liddell.

It's been a great career, Iceman. Now it's time to enjoy retirement.