Chuck Liddell is often credited as one of the fighters who helped grow the popularity of mixed martial arts. During the 2000s, Liddell emerged as one of the top light heavyweights in the UFC and won the divisions championship. Liddell became known for his vicious striking ability and became a fan favorite because of his exciting style of fighting. In his career he was able to defeat many of the UFC’s top stars, such as Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Randy Couture.
Liddell was a dominant fighter for much of the 2000s. However, as the end of the decade approached, Liddell’s performance began to slip. He was knocked out in three consecutive bouts and his career eventually came to an end.
In 2008, Jon “Bones” Jones quickly emerged as one of the UFC’s top young fighters. Jones became known for his fear-striking use of spinning elbows and kicks. He quickly ate up the competition in the UFC’s light heavyweight division and became the youngest champion in UFC history. Today, Jones is considered by many to be the top pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts.
It is unfortunate that Liddell’s career declined just as Jones was coming into his own and the two fighters never met one another in the octagon. They are two of the greatest and most exciting strikers to have contended in the UFC and if the two had met during each of their primes, it surely would have made for an all time classic bout.
For fans of the UFC, this fight is very much the equivalent of Tyson vs. Ali, or Tyson vs. Lewis for boxing fans. If only they had each been in the prime of their careers during the same period of time, we may have been able to witness a super fight for the ages.
It would be theoretically possible for Liddell to make a return to MMA. However, due to his three consecutive knockouts, it would not be advisable from a health standpoint. His fights would surely not be as great now; Liddell’s performance declined dramatically and he is surely not the fighter he once was.
Furthermore, Jones is much younger and currently in the prime of his career dominating the UFC. If the two were to meet in a bout, it would likely not be all that super. Jones would likely make short work of an older Liddell whose skills have surely eroded with time. This bout is one that now should remain as a missed opportunity of the past.
Jones has many other contenders who will want a piece of him in the future as they will attempt to defeat the new dominant striker in the UFC. Liddell will remain out of the octagon, and will always be remembered as a great champion who helped the UFC and MMA rise up in popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s.