04-26-2011, 11:18 AM
Number 1 Nerf-Herder
Join Date: May 2010
Chuck Liddell knows a thing or two about defending a championship. The "Iceman" captured the UFC light-heavyweight title and held it for two years before relinquishing the crown. Georges St. Pierre has held a UFC belt even longer. He won the undisputed welterweight title in April 2008, so a successful title defense over Jake Shields at this weekend's UFC 129 will make it three years and counting at the top.
Liddell, though, has his doubts about St. Pierre getting there. In a Monday interview on The MMA Hour, Liddell said he thinks the challenger is likely to walk away with the belt.
"I'm siding with Jake," Liddell said. "Jake's going to have to take him down. I'm expecting him to be in great shape for the fight. He'll be in great shape for GSP. But yeah, I expect him to take him down and finish him."
Part of Liddell's opinion admittedly stems from his long history with Shields, who got his start in the sport by training with Liddell in San Luis Obispo, California.
The 32-year-old Shields has been one of the top multi-division fighters in the world for several years, but Liddell knew him from his early days, when Shields (26-4-1) was known for his hardcore work ethic. Liddell says he couldn't predict Shields' future excellence, but it was clear from his drive that he was determined to make an impact in the sport.
"He had athletic ability, I knew he was very tough and he always wanted to work," Liddell said. "He was always in the gym working on new things, working with people. We'd always say, 'Relax, you have a fight in a couple days. Just relax.'"
Liddell, who is retired as a fighter and currently serves as the vice president of business development for the UFC, said he's at peace with his recent decision to call it quits inside the cage as he works on projects to promote the sport and his company.
"It's one of those things, I'm never gonna get over not fighting, I don't think, but i'm content with my decision to retire," he said.
Next up on Liddell's personal agenda is getting married. He'll tie the knot with his longtime girlfriend Heidi Northcott this summer. And while he still works out, he doesn't incorporate MMA training into his routine as often as he'd like. But he still makes time to watch fights as a fan.
When asked how he thought a prime Iceman would fare against current light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones, Liddell laughed at the hypothetical.
"I don't like to answer questions like that because I'm not going to fight him," he said. "I'm retired, it's not going to happen. But you know what? If you asked me when I was fighting in my prime, I would have said I'd win. That's just the way I was. I thought i could beat anyone in the world."