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New* Chuck Liddell Interview
The Pride Grand Prix is just a couple of weeks away and for Chuck Liddell, it's the biggest fight of his career thus far. Liddell has never had back to back losses in his career. His last lost before Randy Couture was a couple of years ago against Jeremy Horn. After Horn he went on a rampage beating some of the best fighters in the world. Liddell wants to fight the best and while some people felt Liddell should take a tune up fight, he said "no" and fights the best in world at the Pride Grand Prix. Chuck Liddell is this week's Interview of the Week.
Ryan Bennett: I understand you're out in Las Vegas where it's like 115 degrees. Tell the fans a little bit about why you're out in Vegas.
Chuck Liddell: I came out here to train with John Lewis, to work on my ground stuff, and just to get away and get some training in.
Ryan: Congratulations, by the way. I heard you got your purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
Chuck: Yeah, I've been training with John Lewis for a long time, and it was cool to get this purple belt.
Ryan: A lot of people don't know you have a ground game, but you must be doing something right to get a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu. Your next fight is against Alistair Overeem, and there has been a lot of talk about whether you're going to stand up with him or take the fight to the ground. Do you think this might be a fight where we get to see some of those Jiu-Jitsu skills?
Chuck: You never know. I'm still going to go out there with the plan of striking with the guy. I've been watching a lot of film on him, and I think I can knock him out, so that's what I'm going to go out there to do. At the same time, you never know, we might end up on the ground, too.
Ryan: This is the first time in a few years that you're coming off a loss. Was that a hard thing to stomach, losing after a couple years of being undefeated and winning so many fights?
Chuck: Well, I don't like to lose anytime. So yeah, it's tough for me, it's tough to take a loss. I feel like I didn't perform like I should have, so that makes it even worse. But you've just got to pick yourself up and start training and start fighting again. I'm very happy to be able to get right back into it with this fight being in August, so I didn't have to take much time off between fights. I'm ready to go.
Ryan: You've got a tough opponent in the first round of the Grand Prix, not that any of the other guys would be easy fights for anyone, but Alistair Overeem is a really tough guy. What do you see in Overeem's game? When you break it down and watch film on him, what do you see in this kid?
Chuck: He's athletic, he's strong, he has some good height, and he's really good at striking. He likes to get in there and throw knees, and just throw a lot of stuff out there. He comes in with a very erratic and hard to reach style, so it will be very interesting.
Ryan: I know the first round is going to be on one show and then the semi-finals and finals will be on another show, but when you look around and see all these guys in the tournament like Vanderlei Silva, Quinton Jackson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Ricardo Arona... is this one of those situations where you want to go for the quick knockout so you don't get injured or tired? Do you want to just get in there and get out quickly?
Chuck: I always want to get in there and get out quickly, but I don't think it's going to matter that much. I'm not going to change my gameplan. If you go out there trying to knock someone out with every punch or kick, it usually doesn't work. It's usually when you're in the middle of a combination, or just out there throwing your strikes and you catch someone. So if the fight with Overeem is quick, that's great, but if not, I'm going to be okay with that too.
Ryan: Tito Ortiz was on MMAWeekly Radio recently, and we talked about you and a lot of other subjects. He was saying how he knew Randy Couture was going to win, and he had money on Couture, and things like that. What do you think when you hear things like that from Tito?
Chuck: Look, Tito will always talk, but when it comes down to it, when it came time to step up, he didn't. I don't think he will ever fight me. He gets into his own hype, and he has always been good at talking. He'll talk s--t, but he won't back it up when the time comes.
Ryan: So you're convinced he won't fight you after this fight with Couture? He said on MMAWeekly Radio that he would fight you after Couture, regardless of how you do in the Grand Prix, but you're convinced he won't fight you?
Chuck: I'm convinced he won't fight me. He'll never fight me. The guy is a coward; he's not a real fighter. He doesn't want to fight someone that he thinks can beat him. And he knows that's true not only today, but back when we used to train together and I used to pound him. I haven't talked about it that much because training is training, but you can ask Dana White; I remember Dana telling him to get up off the ground. But Tito will always talk; especially, now that he doesn't have to fight me. I said all along that whenever I lose or if I lose to someone else, he'll come right back to the UFC and forget about all of his financial demands. And that's exactly what happened. My biggest disappointment in losing that fight was probably the fact that it let Tito off the hook. But now he's saying he'll fight me after he beats Couture, whether I win or lose in the Pride Grand Prix... so if he gets by Randy, I guess we'll see if he lives up to that statement.
Ryan: Man, I can hear it in your voice... you're pretty pissed off about this, aren't you?
Chuck: Yeah. If he originally stepped up to fight me, then it would be just like any other fighter whether I won or lost. But when he talks all this s--t... he just has a big mouth. If he would fight me, if he would really fight me, this would be a non-issue. Instead he just talks s--t about how much he wants to fight me even though he knows it's not true. I'll be shocked if he ever actually does step up and fight me.
Ryan: Switching gears a bit, who do you think is the most dangerous guy in the Grand Prix?
Chuck: That's hard to say because there are a lot of dangerous guys in that tournament. For me personally... I might have a hard time winning a decision, so it would be dangerous for me to fight a guy who isn't going to want to stand up with me or isn't going to let me come at him. That could make it difficult for me against the guys who are focused on the ground game.
Ryan: What was the reasoning behind the decision to train with John Lewis for awhile instead of John Hackelman?
Chuck: Well, I'm still training with John Hackelman, too. I've always trained with those two guys. It has been a while since I have come out here (to Las Vegas) to work on my ground game with John Lewis, but I planned on doing it after the fight with Randy. Originally, I didn't plan on having another fight until November, but I just kept my plans and came out here to train even after signing to fight in August.
Ryan: Do you think it will be a little easier to fight in Japan since you previously fought in Japan against Guy Mezger? Do you think that will make it easier than it might be otherwise to adjust to the different climate and time zone, and deal with the jet-lag?
Chuck: Yeah, I'm not really worried about it for that reason, because I have fought in Japan before. I don't have too much of a problem with jet-lag coming to Japan, it's coming back from Japan that gives me more jet-lag.
Ryan: Do you think Alistair Overeem is going to try to duplicate the Randy Couture gameplan of coming at you with all-out aggression?
Chuck: Well, that wouldn't even be a change of gameplan for Alistair because that's the way he fights. He comes right across the ring and he's ready to take it to you, so it won't be any change of gameplan for him.
Ryan: Do you think that because you're fighting in a Pride tournament as a representative of the UFC, maybe Pride will give you the hardest possible road to the finals?
Chuck: I wouldn't be surprised, but then again, there is no easy path to the finals in this tournament. So I'm not really worried about that.
Ryan: How does it affect you mentally going into this fight since you're coming off of a loss?
Chuck: Not much, because I still think that I can beat any 205-pound fighter in the world on any given night. So that part of it doesn't bother me; I'm ready to go.
Ryan: You've always been very good at getting up off the ground when you've got a guy on top of you trying to dish out punishment. With this tournament being in a ring instead of a cage, how is it different trying to get up from the ground when there's no cage for support?
Chuck: I still do a lot of the same things from the ground to get back to my feet, but I've been training in a ring lately just to get used to it. It does change it a little bit and makes it a little bit harder to get up from that position, but I can still do it. I just have to be a little bit more technical on the ground and do some things differently. Also, the ring in Pride has really tight ropes, and those ropes can be used in some of the same ways that a cage can be used.
Ryan: Do you plan on training with Randy Couture again at any time in the future?
Chuck: You never know, but I'm planning on fighting him sometime in the future, so probably not until after that happens.
Ryan: Who would you like to fight most out of all the fighters in the Grand Prix?
Chuck: Vanderlei Silva, just because I have wanted to fight him for a while and I think it would be a great fight. Our styles would make a fun fight to watch for the fans. He's a very tough guy and he has been one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world for a long time.
Ryan: Other than the Couture fight, are there any fights in your career that you can look back on and say that they were particularly tough compared to other fights?
Chuck: Not really, because all of the guys I've fought have been tough in their own different ways.
Ryan: Do you think there will ever be a rematch between you and Jeremy Horn?
Chuck: I don't know. I heard he was going down to 185 pounds, so that would make it a long shot. But if he stays at 205, then it's always a possibility.
Join Date: Dec 2002
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I've never been a big fan of Liddell, but I feel for him. I hope he rebounds well and gets a shot at Ortiz.
Llamas love midgets
Join Date: Oct 2002
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I have never been a fan either, but I can't deny the heart that this guy has. Best of luck to him against Overeem; he's gonna need it.
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Wow I don't think I've ever heard of Chuck sounding as pissed off as he is here. I hope to god Tito/Chuck happens, I mean for christs sakes people!
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