Chuck Liddell was once the most feared and seemingly untouchable Champion in any sport. He had a list of KO victims that is without doubt the best ever in MMA. Randy Couture(2), Tito Ortiz(2), Babalu Sobral(2), Kevin Randleman, Guy Mezger, and Alistair Overeem. Not too shabby is it?
He was riding high in 2007 and was fresh off his fourth title defense, with a KO victory over Tito Ortiz. However, all was about to change for the "Iceman."
The last man to beat him, Rampage Jackson, had just entered the UFC and Liddell was keen to avenge the loss. The victory would mean he had beaten every man he had ever fought and secure his status as perhaps the best ever.
His chance to do this arrived at UFC 71 on May 26, 2007, however, this was not the fairytale ending Liddell and Dana White had imagined.
Instead, Liddell seemed somewhat intimidated by Rampage's ferocious focus and a mere 113 seconds in Liddell had been KO'ed and his nightmares were just beginning.
After the loss, Liddell was given a match against Keith Jardine, a match he was supposed to win in style. Yet again, though, things were not meant to be.
Instead Jardine battered Liddell with savage leg and body kicks and even managed to knock Liddell down with a big right hand. Jardine managed to pull out the split-decision win due to a brilliant game-plan and by his execution of this game-plan.
The "Iceman's" aura and swagger had seemingly left him, so what did the UFC do? They put him against perhaps the most ferocious fighter in MMA history, Wanderlei Silva, who himself was on a two-fight losing streak both by vicious KO.
They commenced battle on Dec. 29 at UFC 79. The historic fight did not disappoint, and both men swung earth-shattering bombs. Liddell's bombs though landed with more conviction and regularity, earning him a Unanimous Decision win. Liddell appeared to be back...and back big time.
But a young man by the name of Rashad Evans had other rather disturbing ideas. At UFC 88, Chuck Liddell fell victim to something he use to be quite good at, a simply brutal KO that was so savage it should have been illegal.
As Liddell lay alarmingly unconscious and seemingly staring into the bright light at the end of the tunnel, it seemed that Liddell was destined to never regain his title.
But why has the seemingly unbeatable former Champ fell from his throne with such a bump? No one can be 100 percent sure, but it seems stagnant training and predictability appear to be the most obvious reasons.
So Mr. Liddell has took a massive step in the right direction and has begun training at American Top Team, which is bound to contribute to more rounded skills and more varied game-plans. Although he will still represent his regular camp, "The Pit."
So now we must wait to his return to see if this is going to help reveal the 'Iceman' of old. Will he utilise his wrestling credentials? Will he show tighter standup?
We dont know, but one thing's for sure; this is the right move at this stage in his dwindling career.