5 Things You Might Not Know About Chuck Liddell

By: Brian Knapp
Apr 16, 2020

Savagery and charisma brought Chuck Liddell to the forefront of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s rise to mainstream prominence.

Liddell made his professional debut at UFC 17 on May 15, 1998, won 12 of his first 13 fights and gained a massive following in the process, ultimately establishing himself as a superstar with crossover appeal. “The Iceman” reached his peak in 2005, when he became fifth man to capture the undisputed UFC light heavyweight championship. Fighting under his trademark mohawk, the Californian delivered 13 of his 21 career victories by knockout or technical knockout, and while he did not age well as the miles piled up on the odometer, he remains a historical figure in the world of mixed martial arts. Liddell was inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame on July 11, 2009.

As Liddell settles into retirement, here are five things you might not know about him:

1. The singlet provided him with a strong foundation.

A Santa Barbara, California, native, Liddell wrestled collegiately at California Polytechnic State University (1988-93). He was enshrined in the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

2. He had staying power.

Liddell spent 770 days as UFC light heavyweight champion, the fourth-longest reign in divisional history. Only Jon Jones (1,501 days), Daniel Cormier (1,315 days) and Tito Ortiz (1,260 days) ruled for longer.

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3. The resume jumps off the page.

“The Iceman” posted 11 victories over former UFC, Pride Fighting Championships and Strikeforce titleholders, accounting for more than half of his career total. Liddell defeated Ortiz (twice), Randy Couture (twice), Renato Sobral (twice), Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Murilo Bustamante, Kevin Randleman and Alistair Overeem.

4. There was an outlier.

Liddell executed the only submission victory of his career when he dispatched Kenneth Williams with a rear-naked choke at a Neutral Grounds event on March 31, 1999. Interestingly enough, it came on the heels of his only submission loss, as Liddell had succumbed to a Jeremy Horn arm-triangle choke 26 days earlier at UFC 19.

5. The numbers confirm his greatness.

Liddell stamped his name in the UFC record book. He still ranks first on the promotion’s all-time list for light heavyweights in knockouts (nine) and knockdowns landed (14), second in title fight wins (five), third in total wins (15), sixth in appearances (19) and ninth in takedown defense (.804).

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