Browsing all articles tagged with Chuck Liddell

Why Rampage can beat Jon Jones.

Jon “Bones” Jones is a phenomenal athlete, an exciting fighter, and clearly UFC’s next big star. Dana White and the other UFC brass believe with good reason that he could have a Jordan-like effect on the sport. He’s charismatic outside the ring and on a whole other level from his foes inside it.

But he’s not a legend yet. He hasn’t cleaned out the light-heavyweight division. He’s looked unbeatable but he also hasn’t fought a lot of fights.  People are presumptuously crowning him the greatest light-heavyweight of all time. I believe when all is said and done, he’ll be in that conversation, but right now I think a lot of people are overlooking something, and that something is Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

Looking at the top contenders in the light-heavyweight class and none of them look like much of a threat to Jones. He looks great in all aspects. His record wingspan, sharp knees and elbows, and unorthodox style make him almost unbeatable in the stand-up game. His takedown defense is superb. He has a wrestling background and has shown his jujitsu skills in submission victories. Like Anderson Silva, his reach makes it almost impossible for an opponent to try anything against him without opening themselves up for TKO.

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This is where Jackson comes in. Rampage KO’d Chuck Liddell, the greatest counter-puncher to ever fight in the UFC. He’s got heavy hands, a strong chin, and one of the best stand-up games in the division. Rampage is huge, with a physique more like true heavyweight, it was rumored that he once cut from 300 pounds for fight. While he won’t have the reach advantage, he is one of few fighters in the division who could come into a fight bigger and stronger then Jones. He also has a stronger wrestling background than the Brazilians at 205.

That is how Rampage can beat Jon Jones. He could rush forward; put Jones on his back, and ground and pound away. With his size and his chin he can charge in more recklessly than other fighters. Then, he is the one guy big enough to keep Jones down. He could also keep it standing and wait for the right moment for a KO punch. He is the only one in the weight class whose hands are heavy enough to catch Jones with just one shot.

I do think Jones will win on Saturday night. If someone at light-heavyweight can beat him though, that someone is Rampage Jackson. So before we crown Jones the Tyson or Ali of MMA let’s see him get past his toughest test yet – and maybe the toughest of his career.


The Iceman Goeth

At UFC 115 on two weeks ago UFC superstar Chuck Liddell was handed his third consecutive loss.  In a post-fight interview UFC president Dana White declared unequivocally that Liddell will not fight in the Octagon again.

Liddell, along with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is the most popular and recognizable fighter in the UFC. But with a 1-4  record since losing his UFC Light Heavyweight title to Jackson it is clear that the game has passed the Iceman by.  It is not just the losses, it is the way he has lost.  Liddell was possibly the greatest counter-puncher of all time in the UFC. During his nearly two year reign as the Light Heavyweight champ from 2005 to 2007 he successfully defended his title four times and ended each fight with a TKO or KO. During this time the Iceman was the baddest man in the Octagon and undoubtedly the most dangerous striker in MMA.

But then Rampage KOed him on one punch. Then future Light Heavyweight champ Rashad Evans knocked him out with one punch. Then another future Light Heavyweight champ, Maurico “Shogun” Rua TKOed him with a flurry of punches. And finally at UFC 115, Rich Franklin, a former middleweight champion, KOed with one punch. Franklin delivered his knockout with his right arm, because his left arm had been broken earlier in the fight.

His losses have not come against slouches, but he has clearly been outclassed in the division. It looks impossible for Liddell to ever get his belt back unless about five guys suddenly retire. Most of all he has been surpassed at what made him great -  striking and counter-punching. Worse, he seems to have no chin anymore and looks to be an easy knockout to an elite striker.

Liddell has been criticized for being one-dimensional and not keeping in good fighting shape in the past. But he came into his fight against Franklin fit and trimmed. In both his last two fights he showed more diversity in his game, mixing up his striking with some grappling.

But despite his re-dedication to the sport it is clear to everyone that his time is up.  He is 40 years old and has over 30 fights on his body. It is time for him to retire. The Light Heavyweight division in the UFC is too loaded right now for him to have a chance.

But please Chuck, don’t go Strikeforce or some other lesser fighting organization.  We understand, everyone wants to go out on top. That is why Brett Favre hems and haws everyone off-season, and that’s why Jordan ended up playing for the Wizards. But you’re already a UFC Hall of Famer. Sticking around for more disappointing losses is only going to taint your legacy the same way MJ’s Washington stint tainted his.

Chuck you were the baddest man in the world for two years. If you want us to remember you that way, retire now. We’ll appreciate it and still appreciate you years from now as one MMA’s greatest of all time.