Chuck Liddell Q&A
Iceman gives the real scoop, like who he's taking next
Posted: Thursday January 31, 2008 12:20PM; Updated: Friday February 15, 2008 10:30AM
Chuck Liddell is headed to the Super Bowl this weekend and feted like the A-list celebrity he is. He's been to the Big Game before. At Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, Liddell was positioned at midfield. That afternoon in San Diego, he was working as an on-field security guard.
"They told us our backs had to be to the field for the whole game," he recalls. "I was like, 'Right. Like the guy on the 50, who paid huge bucks, is going to cause trouble and run on the field. Especially after seeing me standing there.' I watched the whole game."
This pretty much tells you everything you need to know about how much life has changed, not only for Liddell, but for the UFC over the past decade. The most popular mixed martial arts league, the UFC has become the NASCAR for the new millennium. And Liddell has become the (snarling, tattooed, goateed, cauliflowered) face of the league -- especially after the sensational beatdown he put on Wanderlei Silva in a light heavyweight fight last month.
In New York to promote his new book Iceman: My Fighting Life, Liddell met SI.com at a favorite neighborhood bar. Some highlights:
SI.com: Super Tuesday is next week. Hillary or Obama?
Liddell: Um, they're not really in my party. I haven't followed it too close.
SI.com: Just trying to throw you off your game. So what's next for you? Have you been told your next opponent?
Liddell: Possibly Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. That's what they're saying. If it's the June fight, it will probably be in London. But my trainer is trying to get it moved to Vegas. Too far. (Liddell is based in San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
SI.com: It was no secret you wanted that fight against Silva. Who do you want now?
Liddell: Rampage [Quinton Jackson, who defeated Liddell last summer.] I want that fight again.
SI.com: You're done with Tito Ortiz?
Liddell: I will beat him up any time someone is willing to pay for it. Every one out of three people ask, 'When are you going to beat up Tito again?' People like seeing him get beat up, that's all. He'd have to make a run of a few wins, but that's not even an interesting fight for me. There's nothing he can do to me.
SI.com: Keith Jardine?
Liddell: I would like to show that was a fluke, I had an off night.
SI.com: Silva again?
Liddell: If he puts together a couple wins. That was an exciting fight. But it would have to be for a title.
SI.com: Cage or ring?
Liddell: I'll fight him anywhere. I'll fight him right here in this bar if you get somebody to pay for it. They're making a big deal of [cage versus ring], but that's an excuse because all the PRIDE guys are losing. I had someone say to me the reason Wanderlei Silva lost to me was because he couldn't do soccer kicks. Really? When exactly was he going to soccer-kick me in that fight?
SI.com: Is Randy [Couture, who was/is still fighting in his mid-40s] a fluke? Or do you say, man, I could still be doing this for the next six, eight years. [Liddell is 38.]
Liddell: It depends. I'm more of a striker and use speed a little more than he does. There will be a point when it won't be enough, but....