Chuck Liddell: I didn't want to stop, but it was the right decision


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chuck-liddell-13.jpgIt’s been almost three years since UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell (21-8 MMA, 16-7 UFC) last appeared in the UFC’s octagon. And while “The Iceman” admits he struggled with the choice to walk away, Liddell now admits it was certainly the proper decision.

Liddell discussed the final days of his career at a recent fan Q&A session in Brazil, which MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) attended. The 43-year-old revealed that while UFC President Dana White had openly lobbied for Liddell to walk away from the sport, it was ultimately the former light heavyweight champ who decided he was done competing.

“I talked to my family, my coaches, and then I went to Dana,” Liddell said. “I talked to Dana. Dana and I actually went to dinner, and he thought I was going to ask him to fight again. I came to dinner, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m done.’ He was relieved.”

Liddell, whose retirement officially was announced in December 2010, remains a part of the UFC as the company’s executive vice president of business development. He said he made his decision to hang up his gloves several months before White made the public declaration at a pre-UFC 125 press conference but asked his employer to hold off on the announcement so he could adjust to life as an ex-fighter.

“Obviously [White] had made comments that he didn’t want me to fight again,” Liddell said. “He was relieved, and then I asked him to just hold off for about three months and give me some time to get adjusted to it before I have to talk to people about it because it was a hard decision for me. 

“I love fighting, and I didn’t want to stop, but it was the right decision at the time between my coaches and my family.”

Liddell remains a huge fight fan and is often seen cageside at UFC events both domestic and abroad. He continues to actively train in the sport, as well, and admits he’s become fascinated with the jiu-jitsu side of MMA after spending his career as a noted knockout artist.

Sure, the itch to compete still lingers. But Liddell knows his days have passed – though he admits if fellow retiree Tito Ortiz returned to the sport, he might possibly be persuaded to give it another go.

“I’d always like to hit Tito,” Liddell joked. “That would always be fun, so that’s a possibility, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“I think I made the right decision in retiring. Unless something changes, I’ll stay retired.”

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