Forced to withdraw from the main event of UFC 85 due to a torn hamstring, fan favorite Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell (21-5 MMA, 16-3 UFC) is now looking to return to the octagon in early fall. And although an opponent has not been determined, Liddell feels a win would earn him a shot at the light-heavyweight title he lost a year ago.
Liddell discussed his return while a recent guest on TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), a content partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"It wasn't very fun," Liddell said regarding the injury. "But I've been doing rehab on it, and it's been going real well. I'm hoping to be back fighting in late summer, early fall. You know, September or November."
The latest officially announced UFC date is UFC 87, on Aug. 9 in Minneapolis, Minn. Liddell ruled that date out, stating it was "too early."
Once a date has been determined, Liddell and the UFC can work on arranging a match-up. The 38-year-old would still be willing to take on his original opponent, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, provided the Brazilian recovers from his own knee injury in time.
"It's a possibility," Liddell said of the bout. "If he's healthy and I'm healthy, it's a fight that makes sense."
Regardless whom Liddell ends up facing, the ex-champion feels a victory should be enough to earn him a shot to reclaim the title.
"I've been ready to fight the champion for a long time," Liddell said. "(If) I win in the fall, I think I deserve a title shot."
Liddell is also anxious to avenge his two most recent losses, to light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and the rapidly improving Keith Jardine.Link