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UFC 125 Fighters Discuss Chuck Liddell's Career and Legacy

LAS VEGAS -- The announcement of Chuck Liddell's retirement continues to send ripples through the MMA world.

Just days before their respective matches at UFC 125, several of the fighters on the card took a few minutes to give their overall impressions of "The Iceman" and his accomplishments in the sport.

Among the fighters to share their thoughts on Liddell were UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, challenger Gray Maynard, Chris Leben and others. Here they are in their own words.


On Liddell's legacy
"I think he was one of the pioneers. It started with Royce Gracie and those guys, and Chuck was the next step to push us into the mainstream. Just the way he fought and how dominant he was all those years was huge for the sport. He's like a character. He's got the Mohawk and the attitude. He was perfect for the sport, and I think he's going to do a great job with the UFC."

On his favorite Liddell fights
"I think the Randy [Couture] trilogy. Just the fact I was always a big fan of Randy's coming from a wrestling background. Chuck's a big wrestler, too. He just never took people down. He kind of used it to stay up and knock people out. Those three fights are big for me."

On Liddell's announcement
"It was happening and I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm sitting by Chuck Liddell, and he's done. He kind of teared up. It was an honor that I was right there. It's definitely some stuff I can tell the kids and grandkids. 'Yeah, I was sitting right by Chuck Liddell when he retired.' It was unbelievable, and my hat's off to him. He was unbelievable."

On his favorite Liddell fight
"I remember I was in the stands when he fought Tito Ortiz the second time, and just that the crowd was electric. He was dropping bombs, it was crazy. It was a great fight."

On the end of an era
"Chuck's a legend, obviously. He's a fantastic guy and he's a legend. But what it means to me is we're seeing a passing of the torch, really to the next generation. That generation of 'I was a wrestler,' or 'I was a kickboxer,' or 'I was a jiu-jitsu player' is now passing. Now everyone is not wrestlers, kickboxers, they're MMA fighters. They're completely well-rounded, and that's what I'm noticing now. You don't see the wrestler vs. kickboxer, or this discipline vs. that discipline. Which was fun for its time. Unfortunately, we're going to lose those matchups, because everybody is training everything now."

On his favorite Liddell moment
"His kick over [Renato] Babalu [Sobral] is pretty good. That's definitely a highlight. He's got a lot of them. Randy's my hero, and he caught Randy, so if I didn't love Randy so much I'd say that was awesome, too. I trained with Randy for years and I love him. I almost cried when that happened.

On Liddell's impact
"While most of the guys on this card were becoming stars, I was watching as a fan. And Chuck – while I was gone in Iraq – he was the one that transformed it. When he beat Tito [Ortiz] in their fight and won the belt, he became the biggest MMA star in the world. He carried the torch and he made a lot of this possible for a lot of us fighters. And he's a true fighter. If I were to challenge him to a fight right now, he'd fight me on these mats, and that's just the kind of guy he is, and that's why he's going to be in the position he is for the UFC. I'm happy, I think he's going to make this world and this environment a lot better for all of us."

On his favorite Liddell moment
"The Wanderlei Silva fight. The two of those guys are idols for any fighter. They'll fight anybody, any place. They always come and bring it. They're great fighters, and they went out there and laid it all out on the line. There was no loser in that fight."

On Liddell's revolutionary style
"Chuck's a pioneer. I want to thank him for all the great fights. To me, [Takanori] Gomi reminds me of Chuck a little bit. He kind of reinvented the wheel, going from a successful wrestler to knocking dudes out and TKO'ing people in the cage. He would do enough to stop your wrestling. If he got taken down, he'd get back up and make you pay for it. Just dropping guys in the cage and making them pay dearly for their takedown or standing in front of him ... He's laid the ground stone in MMA and the UFC world for all fighters, up and comers like me that look up to him for years."

On his favorite Liddell moment
"Him and Randy are a couple of my favorite fighters. But actually, when he knocked out Babalu, when he hit him with that uppercut, it showed you how much power he had. I don't think he even hit him with his fist; he knocked him out with his forearm. I was blown away. It shows you how much power he possesses with his punches and in his limbs when he throws them. You wouldn't want to be on the connecting end of it."

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