Chuck Liddell reveals the 'toughest' opponent of his career

  • Tom Ward
Chuck Liddell has revealed Randy Couture is the 'toughest' opponent he ever faced during his career.

Chuck Liddell has revealed Randy Couture is the ‘toughest’ opponent he ever faced during his career. 

The former UFC light heavyweight champion spent the best part of a decade competing against some of the best fighters in UFC history. 

Liddell, 51, knocked out Couture in the first round at UFC 57 in April 2005 to win the light heavyweight title. 

But despite coming up against Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem and others, Liddell picked out Couture as the most formidable opponent he has ever faced. 

“I had some losses late in my career,” he exclusively told GIVEMESPORT. “I mean, Wanderlei Silva was tough, man, he took a lot of punishment.

“He was honestly so tough, a lot tougher than I thought he would be, it took a lot longer than I thought it would to knock him out.

“I hurt him and he just kept coming, like, I knew I hurt him, I could see I hurt him, but he still kept coming forward.

“But, if I had to give it to anyone, I would have to give it to Randy Couture. He was the toughest opponent of my career.

“Like, Randy, Randy is a bad man. I was the first one to knock him out, he fought some of the big names, beat some of the big names.

“Of course, he beat me, too, so I’ve got to give that to him as well.

“If I had to pick anyone, I would probably go with Randy.”

Liddell has opened up on his toughest opponent

Liddell has opened up on his toughest opponent

Liddell, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2009, says that avenging his defeat to Couture was the greatest moment of his illustrious career when he knocked him out in the first round.

Couture was considered the favourite over the younger Liddell in the build-up to their rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

But Liddell connected with a big right to the side of Couture’s temple in the first round and sent him crashing to the canvas. 

“Well, I was lucky to have a lot of great moments in my career, but I think if you put a gun to my head, it would have to be knocking out Randy,” the 51-year-old said.

“It was straight after the first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, obviously he had beaten me before, so there was a lot of emotion going into that fight.

“I was always trying to prove I was the best, I always thought, you know, ‘I’m the best in the world’, I felt like I could beat anybody.

“I think you have to have that kind of mentality if you want to succeed in this sport. Otherwise, you won’t get anywhere at all.  

“Anyway, I got to knock him out in the first round, clean punch, I mean, I couldn’t have asked for a better end to the fight, and I finally got to get my hands on the title I’d been after for so long.”

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Since his days as a young and up-and-coming fighter, Liddell has always been known as ‘The Iceman’.

It’s a nickname which has followed him throughout his career, whether that’s co-hosting a hugely successful podcast with close friend and comedian Adam Ray, or competing on the ninth season of ‘Dancing with The Stars’.

“John Hackleman gave it to me,” he explained. “I think he gave everyone a nickname so it was easier for him to remember them.

“I was fighting at Strongbow Arena, but they made us get there for like 5 pm, but I was fighting later on the card at like 9 pm.

“So I’m sitting in the back room, he’s like ‘I’ll come back and find you about 8 to 10 pm, then we’ll get ready to go’.

“John came back looking for me, but he couldn’t find me, and he actually thought that I’d got nervous and left because it was pretty early on in my career.

“To his surprise, he found me sleeping in the back on a Muay Thai pad, and he was like, ‘I get nervous before every fight, I barely sleep the night before, and you’re sleeping a couple of minutes before you walk to the cage’. 

“And so he started calling me ‘The Iceman’ and it just kind of stuck, so we kept the name and then went with it. I liked it.”

This exclusive interview with Chuck Liddell is in conjunction with ‘The Icebreakers’ Podcast, available to listen on Apple and Spotify now!

“When I fought Vitor Belfort, the exact same thing happened, some local news guy came out to do some filming in the morning, but we were at a different hotel,” Liddell added.

“We were actually staying at the Bellagio so they had to get the guys over there early the next day as we weren’t there when they turned up at first.

“So again, they get up early about five o’clock in the morning and they come and knock on my dressing room, but I was sound asleep. I was still asleep at five o’clock in the morning. I didn’t hear a thing.

“Anyway, after my fight, this guy comes over to me and goes, ‘We came back to interview you but you were sleeping’.

“John pointed out it was probably a good thing they didn’t try to wake me up otherwise they might have regretted it.”

Read more: Chuck Liddell exclusive: Anderson Silva is ‘the greatest UFC fighter of all time’

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