People often ask me, who's your favorite fighter? After a long pause my usual reply is I don't really have one. The truth is I haven't had a favorite fighter for about five years now. It's not that I don't want to see certain fighters win, but none of them are what I would consider my favorite. Chuck Liddell was my favorite fighter. When he lost in violent fashion to Rashad Evans at UFC 88, I knew my heros career was at an end. No fighter has ever been able fill Chuck's shoes. In my eyes, the Iceman was what I thought a fighter should be. Not only in appearance, but in skill as well. Chuck was never scared to go toe to toe with the best in the business. Not only could he KO you while backing up, but the guy was also a hell of a wrestler.
No other fighter has ever made me cheer and jump around like Liddell, so join me for a trip down memory lane as I take a look at Liddell's MMA career fight by fight.
At the age of 28, Chuck would get his first taste of the octagon. UFC 17 was held on May 15 1998 in Mobile, Alabama. Looking back this event was stacked with pioneers of the sport. Along with Chuck, Dan Henderson, and Carlos Newton were also making their octagon debut. With warriors like Frank Shamrock, Mark Coleman, and Jeremy Horn also on the card.
Chuck would face Noe Hernandez in an alternate bout. Hernandez weighed in a few pounds over the 200lbs maximum. The Iceman would weigh in at 199lbs. Chuck gave Noe the few extra pounds, and was ready for war. With Chuck's debut being an alternate bout or "prelim" in 1998, there's not a ton of footage out there.
Chuck and Noe would go the full twelve minutes. Pretty remarkable considering that was one full twelve minute round. It really shows how training has changed along with the sport. Today's fighters would never be able to fight for one twelve minute round. They only train for 5 minute rounds now, and it shows. Hell it seems half of them gas after about 3 minutes.
Chuck got hit with a big right hand early in the fight. Noe's big right hand caused damage, as Chuck's face began to swell. The Iceman was able to recover after getting clocked, and opened up a cut across Noe's nose. Fightmetric.com has Liddell out striking Hernandez 61 to 11, with 46 considered significant. The Iceman didn't get the KO he was looking for, but it's easy to see why he was given the unanimous decision.
Chuck will leave the octagon for his next fight, as he heads to Brazil for IVC 6. It would be his biggest test to date, as he competes at The International Vale Tudo Championship. A no holds barred event, that's not for the squeamish.