Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell believes Anderson Silva, the UFC middleweight champion from 2007-2013, is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Fighting out of San Luis Obispo, California, Liddell blasted his way to the top of the 205 pound rankings, stopping Alistair Overeem before also dominating against Tito Ortiz and Vernon White. The American veteran then knocked Randy Couture out cold in the first round to win the UFC light heavyweight title.
Meanwhile, Silva (34-11) would go on to conquer the UFC middleweight division in equally impressive fashion, beating the likes of Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson and Forrest Griffin, among others, but was dethroned by Chris Weidman in 2013.
That said, Silva’s record speaks for itself, with 23 of his wins coming by way of knockout, and while he may have had some difficulty overcoming the loss, he is widely credited with introducing mixed martial arts to a mainstream audience.
In an exclusive interview with GIVEMESPORT, Liddell revealed that he reckons his old friend is the greatest MMA fighter of all time.
“In my opinion, I’ve got to give it to Anderson Silva, I think he is the greatest UFC fighter of all time,” explained the 51-year-old.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Anderson, I always loved the way he fought, he was so freaking fun to watch.
“He was so explosive, he never quit, and he was one of the most dangerous guys, you know, not a lot of people have that sheer knockout power and really good timing.
“When he was on his hot streak, man, he put it better together better than anybody else. It’s hard to match anyone with the impressive run he made.”
Quite a few eyebrows were raised earlier this year when Silva, 45, revealed he would be returning to the ring for the first time in 15 years to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at the Jalisco Stadium in Mexico on June 19.
But the former UFC light heavyweight champion has refused to dismiss his old friend’s chances against Chavez Jr.
“I would never put something out of Anderson’s reach as far as striking goes,” said Liddell.
“But I mean, when you switch from mixed martial arts to boxing, you have to adjust your timing, your distance, your reach, there’s also a different type of stance, that kind of thing.
“Now, if anybody can do it, Anderson can do it, but you know, it’s a tough crossover, it really is a big step-up, and that’s no slouch he’s fighting. Chavez Jr is an active, high-level boxer. But you can’t write him off either.”
Liddell (21-9), who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2009, is regarded as one of the greatest fighters of his generation. He made four successful title defenses during 23 appearances in the UFC and still holds the record for the most knockouts in the history of the UFC light heavyweight division.
‘The Iceman’ originates from Santa Barbara, California and became the UFC light heavyweight champion when he beat Randy Couture in 2005. Before that point, Liddell had come agonisingly close to winning the title when Couture handed him the second loss of his career. When the referee was forced to halt their second fight at 2 minutes, 6 seconds of the first round, Liddell was declared champion.
Liddell’s reign would prove to be relatively short-lived, ultimately losing his title by KO to Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in 2007. But he will always be remembered as an elite fighter whose wild style of fighting helped him become a household name.
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