Over the last few weeks, speculation has run rampant about Chuck Liddell’s future. Multiple people have given their opinions (we’re all familiar with the ongoing media feud between Dana White and John Hackleman), but Liddell has remained quiet.
Until now. In a wide-ranging interview this week, Liddell broke the silence on his retirement exclusively to MMADieHards.com.
“I’m going to take some time off and figure out what I want to do, and see what else I think I can do,” Liddell told MMA DieHards. “I’ll still be training guys and I’ll still be working out and training.”
Liddell says that he will make a definitive decision on whether or not to retire within the next year, but he is not ready to make it just yet.
“I’m too emotional to make a rational decision,” he admitted, “so I want wait and take my time. I’m not going to make that decision until I sit down and look at it after a little while.
“I need some time off anyway, and when everyone stops worrying about it, I’ll make my decision on my own,” Liddell said.
“Right now, I couldn’t say that I’m not going to fight again.”
Liddell, who has lost four of his last five fights and suffered a first-round knockout in April, admits that if he does call it quits, it will be a difficult decision.
“All I’ve been doing my whole life is training to compete,” Liddell mused. “It’s a hard thing to give up for an athlete. It’s hard to stop competing after so many years.”
Over the next year, Liddell will continue to train fighters, and will continue to work on maintaining his strength and technique for when or if he decides to fight.
If he does decide to fight again, he may have a tough time convincing longtime friend, and UFC president, Dana White, to allow him back into the octagon. White has been adamant that he wants Liddell to retire. Liddell, however, is not concerned.
“I can be pretty persuasive when I want,” Liddell said.
Liddell adds that no one else can push him into a decision, not even White.
“I’ll listen to [White] as a friend, but he’s not going to make me do anything,” Liddell stated, before issuing a warning:
“The last thing you want to do if you want me to do something is to tell me I have to do it.”
With one fight left on his contract, Liddell knows that he does not want to get in a legal battle with the UFC if he decides to fight again.
“[The UFC has] been good to me for a lot of years, I’m not trying to get in a fight with them over fighting somewhere else,” Liddell said. “Going to lawyers and doing all that stuff, it’s just not me.”
Liddell notes that he has had multiple conversations with White, as well as others close to him, but the decision on whether or not to retire will be his and his alone. With regards to White and his longtime trainer John Hackleman taking shots at each other through the media regarding his retirement, Liddell says that’s not his style.
“If I have a problem [with someone], I’ll talk to them personally, not through the press." Liddell said.
“I told [White and Hackleman], ‘It’s between you guys,’” Mr. Liddell said. “They both care about me in their own way.”
If and when Liddell does retire, White has said that there will be a job waiting for him at the UFC. Liddell has not spoken with the UFC about what that job might be, but he says that he wants to stay close to the sport he loves.
In fact, Liddell would be open to any job that has to do with the UFC and MMA.
“I don’t think you could get me away from it,” Liddell declared. “I love this sport.”
Fans will find out just how close Liddell will be to the sport in the next year. As for Liddell’s immediate plans, he is focusing on his family, and is focused right now on preparing to host his 11-year-old daughter’s graduation party at his house.