April 18, 2009
The bad run of knockouts continued tonight for the legendary Chuck Liddell. He and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua engaged in a dangerous standup battle for much of the first round until Liddell made the mistake of throwing out a lazy left hand lead. Rua responded by jumping into a left hook. The former light heavyweight champion was floored and slammed his head on the mat. Rua followed it up with seven hammerfists, two were to the back of the head. Referee Mario Yamasaki jumped in quickly to save the stunned Liddell at 4:28. The Bell Centre crowd booed thinking it was a quick stoppage. It wasn't: Liddell was in grave danger and in a horrible position.
Liddell has now lost 4-of-5 fights and drops to 21-7. He is still arguably a top 10 fighter at light heavyweight, he just can't hang with the top five guys at 205 lbs. who are all fabulous.
This is a huge win for Rua, who as recently as 2006 was regarded by many as the No. 1 light heavy in the world. A pair of knee surgeries slowed down Rua as he went 1-1 in the UFC. This win puts him in line to face any of the top dogs at 205, including a potential rematch against Forrest Griffin. Griffin upset Rua at UFC 76.
Liddell is a tough sell right now as a headliner for the UFC. After his last knockout loss to the eventual light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans at UFC 88, Liddell was offered a job by Dana White behind the scenes.
White said during the postfight press conference that this was the last fight for Liddell. He repeated the statement to Cage Writer during the ESPNRadio1100 postfight show.
Watch Cage Writer with Liddell before the fight talking retirement and his desire to keep fighting on (2:10 mark):It's a tough call for Liddell, who could still command big money in the $200,000-500,000 range with smaller promotions like Strikeforce, Dream and K-1. White made a point of saying it was "The Iceman's" last fight anywhere.
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