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LAS VEGAS – Chuck Liddell says his fighting career isn't over yet, despite yet another knockout loss in his last fight.
Liddell, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion and the most popular fighter in the promotion's history, said Saturday during "The Ultimate Fighter Finale" at the Palms Casino that he was pleased with his performance against Rich Franklin in the main event of UFC 115 on June 12 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Liddell, 40, was knocked out by a counter shot from Franklin with five seconds left in the first round. It was Liddell's third loss in a row and fifth in his last six matches. He's been knocked out in four of them.
After being finished by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 97 in Montreal on April 18, 2009, UFC president Dana White said Liddell was through fighting. But Liddell wanted to fight and talked White, his former manager and close friend, into giving him another shot.
Liddell did a stint on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and didn't so much as hit mitts for six months. He came into the Franklin fight in the best shape he had been in for many years. He was doing well in the fight until he overcommitted on a right hand and Franklin blasted him with a perfectly placed counter shot that knocked him cold.
He said he had the stitches removed from his upper lip and his left eyebrow on Friday and, other than a still very black left eye, looked good. The cut on his lip came from the final punch, while the cut on his left eyebrow came as a result of a clash of heads with Franklin during a takedown.
Liddell said he feels fine and is mulling his options.
"I'm still working on evaluating," Liddell said. "I thought I did great before I was caught. I have to look at it some more and think about it. I think I looked good and I definitely was in great shape. I could have kept that pace up for another four rounds, without a doubt."
Liddell said he has few regrets. He noted that the reason he became so popular as a fighter was his aggressive style, one in which he constantly was looking for the knockout. Little changed in the fight against Franklin and Liddell likely would have won the first round on the judges' cards if the round had been completed.
Had he been more under control and not firing so wildly, he would not have been out of position and wouldn't have been hit with the shot that knocked him out. That, though, isn't Liddell's style.
"It's hard to beat that [aggressiveness] out of me, because that's who I am and that's who I've been for a long, long time," Liddell said. "People like watching me because of the way I fight, so it's hard to get me not to fight that way."
Liddell said he hadn't spoken to White, though they did exchange text messages. He said he has spent time with his children and his girlfriend, Heidi Northcott, since returning from Vancouver.
He didn't put a timetable on a decision, but said he's going to take his time and make the best decision.
"There's a lot still to think about," Liddell said. "I felt pretty good and I think showed I can compete. I'm not going to rush and I'll do what I think is best. I'm just not at a point to make that decision yet."