Exclusive Chuck Liddell Interview

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You've returned to The Ultimate Fighter TV show (broadcast on Virgin1 in the UK) to coach a team throughout the 11th series. How did it go?
It was cool. I'm not a big fan of reality shows but I liked working with the guys. I learnt a lot about teaching. We're working with guys that are already pretty good at what they do, so if they don't understand what to do then I'm not teaching them right. It also taught me a lot about the way I fight because you have to learn your own details before you can teach them. At this level, with these types of guys, that's what you need to teach them - they know most of the basic moves, but you need to teach them the details. The details are what make a difference.

How are you preparing for your fight against Rich Franklin in UFC 115?
My training is ramping up, getting harder and harder. I had to switch to southpaw though, because he's a southpaw.

You were originally supposed to fight Tito Ortiz. Have you had to adapt your training for the new card?
Other than the fact that Franklin's a southpaw, there's not much of a difference. I've had to work on my all-round game because he's decent at everything. Him taking me down is not really a big threat, so if it goes to the ground it's because I decided it should, but he is a much better striker than Tito.

A lot of fans are upset that you won't be fighting Ortiz. How do you feel?
I still really want to knock him out. After the shit he said on the show [The Ultimate Fighter] I really wanted to [fight]. He ran his mouth and now I get to say 'I told you so' to Dana [White, the UFC president]. I told Dana that he wouldn't fight me and that he was just going to use this to get on TV.

Do you still think you'll fight him one day?
I don't care. Honestly. I mean I've already knocked him out twice. All I want is, if he decides to come back to the UFC, that he should have to fight me to get back in.

What's your diet like right now?
I eat a balanced diet – It's 40 per cent carbs, 30 per cent protein and 30 per cent fat. It's healthy. It's clean. It's real simple. When I'm training at home I have five meals for the day. There are enough calories in there for me, and each week as my weight goes up and down we'll add or lose calories.

What is your best memory from inside the Octagon?
It's hard to say. I've had a lot of good ones and I've had a lot of bad ones. Any time I've lost has been devastating to me, but the best would probably have to be when I beat Randy [Couture] for the first time. I had already lost to him and I came back with a first-round knockout for the title. It was the biggest pay-per-view event that the UFC had had at the time by far, and it was a huge day for me. That was my best moment inside the Octagon.

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Chuck’s Best Rucks

Liddell vs Ortiz, UFC 47
When Tito Ortiz was light-heavyweight champ and Liddell was the clear number-one contender, Ortiz claimed that the pair, former sparring partners, had agreed never to fight. Liddell was adamant that Ortiz was simply scared the fight wouldn’t end up on the ground, where Ortiz was technically better – and when they eventually met Liddell proved Ortiz’s fears true, winning with a brutal flurry of punches in the second round.

Liddell vs Couture III, UFC 57
Liddell's first championship win over Randy Couture was marred by an unintentional eye-gouge, but by their third fight he looked invincible. Quick footwork and good angles left Couture with no way to take him down, and the resulting knockout confirmed Liddell as one of the greatest light-heavyweights of all time.

Liddell vs Silva, UFC 79
At one point, Wanderlei Silva was Liddell’s equivalent in Japan – a terrifying knockout artist and champion of the UFC’s rival organisation Pride. By the time they met both had suffered losses but the fight was still phenomenal, with Silva flinging wild hooks and Liddell resorting to takedowns he hadn’t used in years. Liddell was knocked down twice but squeaked a win on the judges’ decision.

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