As Chuck stepped into the Octagon for the first time in fourteen months, I think we all wanted to believe that the “Ice Man” of old was back. Lean, mean and determined to make another run at the light heavyweight crown. In what was a fast and furious first round, reminiscent of the three round war between Haggler and Hearns, Liddell looked impressive as he varied his offense, changing levels with his cakes and stalking Franklin for the knockout. Liddell was faced with the same sense of urgency as a sports team in a game seven. At one point he even attempted to take Franklin down with a move that I can only recall Liddell using in recent history against Wanderlei Silva (which was, coincidentally, his last victory). I’m not a huge fan of the Ice Man, but I can remember sort of smiling as I thought to myself, “this dudes hungry again.” Honestly, I assumed it was just a matter of time before Rich “Ace” Franklin was kissing canvas.
Then it happened. Like a tornado touchdown in a trailer park. Franklin touched Chuck’s chin and the Ice Man fell backwards like he’d been shot with a sniper rifle from the bleachers. I shook my head. I’d seen this before in his fights against Rampage, Rashad, and most recently Shogun Rua. A realistic reason can’t be given for Chuck’s apparent acquiring of a glass jaw. Perhaps its age, perhaps he’s just been hit too many times, or perhaps the current breed of cage fighter has just evolved past Liddell in the same manner that guys like Hughes, Ortiz, Couture, and The Ice Man himself evolved past the original fighters. Nevertheless, it was a sad way to see him go out. I suppose that’s what happens to all fighters who continue to believe they have one good fight left in them? Chuck changed mixed martial arts forever and helped transcend its popularity into what is now a global phenomenon.
I truly hope that the end of Chuck’s career in the UFC doesn’t lead him to continually search out that one victory, the only thing that will silence the beast inside... The UFC has said farewell to Chuck, I just hope the Ice Man can say goodbye to the cage.
In : oLds
Tags: "chuck lidell"
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