Iceman Rx: Chuck Liddell vs. Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 (If all goes to plan)
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world — especially for fans of mixed martial arts.
Who could have ever predicted the career of Chuck Liddell would be sandwiched between two contestants from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF)?
Yet that’s exactly what’s happened to the former light heavyweight champion, who’s had an interesting 2008.
Liddell was originally scheduled to face PRIDE assassin Mauricio Rua at UFC 85 until “Shogun” re-injured his ailing knee and was forced to withdraw.
TUF Season 2 winner and undefeated light heavyweight Rashad Evans answered the call to replace Rua, but this time it was Liddell who canceled after a devastating hamstring injury.
Now fully healed, Chuck is set to honor his commitment by battling Rashad Evans at UFC 88 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, September 6.
At that time of the announcement (June), it was sort of anti-climatic. After all, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was still the 205-pound champion. Defeating Evans meant a possible autumn superfight against Shogun Rua and not the title shot for which he was hoping.
But boy have things changed since then.
Jackson was narrowly defeated by TUF Season 1 winner Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 and spent some time after the fight ranting and raving on the highway like Dr. Miles Bennell.
And Shogun somehow ended up bypassing Liddell altogether and could go straight to a Jackson rematch (from their PRIDE days) in November/December. That’s assuming he can make it that long without his knee folding up like George Jetson’s car.
So where does that leave the Iceman? In line for a title shot against Forrest Griffin at UFC 92, according to his nutrition company Iceman Rx.
Unless of course “Sugar” Rashad Evans has anything to say about it.
Joe Lauzon "I'm not going to let any fight slip by"
In a relatively short period, 24-year-old Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon has gone from computer geek to starring on The Ultimate Fighter 5 television reality show, upsetting a former world mixed-martial-arts champ, and then headlining UFC Fight Night 13. Not too shabby for the nerd-looking but fearless fighting lightweight contender who has a Bachelor's degree in computer networking from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston
Liddell changes his focus from title to “Rampage”?
Chuck spoke to thesun.co.uk about avenging one of the last losses on his record:
"I want to fight “Rampage” real badly. I actually think I match up very well against him, but I’ve managed to lose to him twice now. But the third fight will not have anything to do with the first two, it will be a fresh start. “Rampage” is the one fight I really want, as much as I want my title back. He’s lost the belt now, so I can’t beat him and win the title back in one fight, but I want to fight him just as bad as when he was champion.”
Speaking on his fight with Rashad Evans, Chuck thinks his unbeaten opponent won’t pose him a big threat:
"Evans is a very different type of challenge because he is very fast, goes for takedowns, and has a mentality to try and take the fight into his comfort zone. I won’t allow him to do that, I’ll pressure him for three rounds if I have to but I think I’ll knock him out. I think I’ll get to him. I have real doubts about his shot. He won’t be able to take me down. He had a hard time taking Michael Bisping down in his last fight, and I’m known for stopping shots.”
Chuck will be fighting Rashad at UFC 88 in Atlanta on September 6th, and on winning the fight, could gain himself a title shot.
BJ Penn Willing to Wait for GSP Super Fight
UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn will have to wait just a little longer to face Georges St. Pierre, the man he’s set in his sights since conquering the 155-pound division. But it won’t be too long; manager J.D. Penn tells MMAWeekly.com that UFC president Dana White has named Jan. 31 as D-Day for B.J.’s next incursion into the 170-pound division. Penn and company had originally anticipated a showdown with St. Pierre at UFC 92 on Dec. 27 in Las Vegas.
“He’s staying strong and focused,” J.D. says. “Jan. 31 gives him an extra month to train.”
In a recent interview with MMAWeekly.com, B.J. said he’s pulling out all the stops in preparation for the fight. It’s not just an issue of avenging a loss – he dropped a split decision to St. Pierre at UFC 58 in his second go-around as a UFC welterweight – but advancing the sport to a higher level.
“St. Pierre, he’s got his Canadian fans, his American fans, his fans all over the world,” B.J. said. “I could see in one night that fight jumping the sport of mixed martial arts leaps and bounds. It could be maybe the Joe Frazier/Muhammad Ali type fight that the sport is looking for right now.”
The UFC’s Super Bowl weekend cards have taken on increased importance since the sport’s meteoric rise in visibility. With Penn and St. Pierre coming off extremely impressive performances at UFC 84 and UFC 87, respectively, the event has the potential to splash black ink across Zuffa’s first quarter balance sheet for 2009.
UFC president Dana White recently told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports that the company was having a retreat this week to figure out the marquee fights for the four yet to be announced cards, starting with UFC 91 on Nov. 15 in Portland, Ore.
As of yet, no other fights have been rumored or confirmed for the Jan. 31 card in Las Vegas.
Thales Leites analyzes fight with Reljic
With four victories in a row, Thales Leites will have a tough opponent at UFC 90. After a huge unanimous decision victory over Nate Marquardt, Leites faces now Goran Reljic, that won his eight bouts at light-heavyweight division and now debuts at 185’s. “I’m expecting a great fight, everything is fine. I’m training hard and the only different detail is that he’s left-handed, but the reat is all the same”, said the Nova União’s athlete, that doesn’t believes it’ll be a problem.
“I never fought a left handed before, but it won’t be a problem. I’m well trained, I saw some videos and I’m doing my preparation with left-handed athletes… The sad thing is that we (right-handed) don’t usually train with left-handed athletes”, said the athlete, that bet at the middleweight decision between Anderson Silva and Patrick Cote.
“I think it’ll be a huge fight, but I think Anderson will take it… If Patrick wants to do a game on feet he won’t make it, Anderson is taller, more technical and is left-handed. But it’s a fight and everything can happen”, bet Leites, that wants to win another fight to get a titleshot. “Obviously I wanna win the title… If any fighter says he doesn’t wants to fight for the belt, he’s crazy or a liar. But my main focus is to keep winning and if they call me I’ll be ready”, said the athlete.
UFC 1: A Look Back
Cool 15th Anniversary article with lots of behind the scenes info and interviews.
Like the fact that Big John applied but Rorion wouldn't let him in.
Or that Zane Frasier got in Rorion's face and then challenged Rickson on the spot.
Or that besides the original alligator moat around the ring, Art Davie wanted to add an electrified copper fence!!
Anderson Silva wants Super Fights
Since making his debut in the Octagon, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has never hand picked an opponent. He has never turned down a fight. He even moved up a weight class to be a part of a main event for a special live televised event. And after facing Patrick Cote at UFC 90 in Chicago, Silva is looking for the biggest fights possible.
Being considered among the best pound for pound fighters on the planet always puts Silva’s name in the hat when fans and journalists alike start matchmaking the dream fights, pitting the Brazilian against everyone from Georges St. Pierre to Chuck Liddell.
His manager, Ed Soares, spoke to MMAWeekly Radio recently and feels that Anderson Silva will be a part of many of the biggest fights fans will ever see.
“I think he wants to fight those big mega fights because that’s the kind of fight we want to be involved with right now,” he said about Silva’s future fights. “I think it’s a combination of seeing what the potential opponent is and also seeing what the UFC wants to do. At the end of the day, this is a business, and they need to sell fights. They need to sell a lot of pay-per-views, and they need to sell tickets. So, we want to be involved with those types of fights.”
One name in particular that has been rumored for months is former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who is arguably the most well known fighter in the sport today. While Silva’s focus is solely on Patrick Cote, a fight with Liddell is one he would accept.
“We’re not looking past Patrick Cote, but I think we’ll take one step at a time and see what happens. But yeah, if a Chuck Liddell fight came up, we’d take it,” stated Soares. “Whoever the UFC wants to put in front of us, he wants to fight the best, and whoever that may be at the time, that’s who he wants to fight.”
The timing for a year-end super fight involving Silva may work out as well. As Soares explained, he was originally going to fight Yushin Okami at UFC 88 in Atlanta, but an injury forced the Japanese fighter off the card.
This latest match-up with Cote will take place towards the end of October, but barring any injuries, the “Spider” won’t close the door for the possibility of another fight in 2008.
“If the right fight was to come up for the New Year’s fight, maybe we would take it,” said Soares. “Right now it’s really hard to say, we’re pretty much just focused with Anderson on the Oct. 25 fight.”
IFL refugees Dan and Jim Miller anxious for UFC debuts
For IFL refugees and brothers Dan Miller (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Jim Miller (11-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the chance to fight in the UFC can't come soon enough.
"My brother and I, we quit our jobs a couple weeks ago," Jim recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Now we're training full-time. I'm anxious to get in there. It's tough going into it the first couple fights before you have a little padding in the wallet."
Jim, a lightweight, was scheduled to make his debut for the UFC at April's Ultimate Fight Night 13 against Marcus Aurelio. The then-struggling IFL held Miller's contract, and the organization blocked Jim from accepting the fight.
That decision left 24-year-old Jim with bitter feelings about the organization.
"I wasn't too happy with what was going on with [the IFL] at the moment," Jim admitted. "I really didn't get treated that well personally. So I was pretty happy when we got out of [the IFL contract].
"We were actually supposed to be out of it when I got called for the (Marcus) Aurelio fight (in the UFC). Then [the IFL] kind of hosed me."
For 27-year-old Dan, who earned the IFL's middleweight title with a submission win over Ryan McGivern in his final bout for the ill-fated IFL, the experience was equally upsetting.
"[The IFL's demise] was pretty frustrating," Dan said. "To win the title and not get to defend it? That's what makes a champion -- being able to defend the title. That is frustrating, not being able to defend my belt."
Fortunately for both, the UFC came quickly calling. In fact, stunningly quick.
"My manager had been in talks with the IFL," Jim explained. "(He was) asking them what was going on, when we were getting out, all that stuff. Then it all happened so quickly. It was like one day. It was like, 'Oh, you're released from the IFL.' A day later the UFC's calling up. It was pretty crazy."
Now in the sport's premier organization, the three-year veterans are excited to display to the world the advantages that training with each other has provided.
"We push each other really hard -- if it's rolling or just doing striking and conditioning," Dan said. "We really push each other. No one can push you like family. You can get under each other's skin, but it never gets into anything bigger."
Jim echoed his brother's sentiments.
"I think [training with a brother] is a huge advantage," Jim said. "Dan and I are really competitive, but we've never gotten into fights or anything like that. We joke around with each other. We're competitive with each other. We push each other. He likes to tap me out. I like to tap him out. But it's more just like rubbing it in the other guy's face."
Of course training is one thing. Competing at the same time can prove a difficult challenge.
"On nights when we've fought on the same card, it can get a little hairy," Jim said. "We've been lucky that most of the time nothing's really happened. The last two fights that we fought on the same card were a little tough.
"The one we fought in November at Ring of Combat, it was the third round and Dan was fighting before me. He took a mean right hook and ended up breaking the bone in his face. He takes the punch and it doesn't even wobble him, and he wins the fight. But then he comes back and he's got this divot in his face.
"So then the doctors are like, 'Oh, you broke a bone. You've got to go to the hospital.' Then I've got to sit there and see my older brother put on a gurney. So he's going to the emergency room 45 minutes before I'm supposed to step in the ring. He's been there every day with me training. He's been in my corner for every other fight. And then to have to wish him luck as he goes to the hospital was tough. It was really difficult to keep my head in the game."
While both fighters are still waiting on their first bout with their new organization, it is the type of grit and determination displayed that November evening that the brothers believe will lead them to continued success in the UFC.
"I like to push the pace," Dan said. "I go hard for all three rounds. When you see me fight the fight is going to end up on the ground. And it's going to be a war on the ground."
Jim sees himself in much the same manner.
"I'm not the best wrestler," Jim admitted. "I'm not the best jiu-jitsu guy. I'm not the best striker. But my style is just to keep advancing. Get my opponent into a scramble and take something.
"And I'm really not going to leave anything for the after-party. There are guys out there that like to pace it out so they feel the same in the third round as they did the first round. That just doesn't sit well with me. I'm going to go out and I'm going to push as hard as I can.
"If it comes down to me now being able to stand up after the third round, then I've got three cornermen in my corner to carry me out."
Chuck Liddell looks to remain in UFC another "two to four years"
Although Chuck Liddell (21-5 MMA, 16-4 UFC) may have lost two of his previous three fights and be turning 39 years old this December, don't expect the 10-year UFC veteran to be calling it quits anytime soon.
The ex-UFC-light-heavyweight champion said he still has a few years left while a guest of "The Lights Out Show" on the TAGG Radio Network (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"(I still have) two to four years depending on how my body's feeling," Liddell said. "I'm hoping in two years I'll still be saying 'two to four years.' I still feel like fighting now and my body is still working now."
While many of the sport's newer fighters enjoy moving from camp to camp in order to evolve their techniques, Liddell feels he has been served well by remaining with John Hackleman at The Pit throughout his career.
"We have people come in and train with us," Liddell explained. "And I work out with different people from time to time. But changing actual camps all the time, and doing that travelling thing, I don't think that's advantageous."
Another growing trend among today's fighters is the choice to bounce from organization to organization in order to seek out the highest pay. While several contenders such as EliteXC and Affliction would certainly love to have the exposure "The Iceman" would bring to their organization, the veteran of 20 UFC fights feels comfortable remaining with the UFC.
"The UFC has been very good to me, and I don't see me fighting anywhere else," Liddell said. "At this point they have all the best fighters in my weight, so that's where I want to be. I'm trying to prove I'm the best at what I do. That's what I'm out there doing. So I don't see me changing anytime soon."
And though speculation continues to grow around a possible move to heavyweight, Liddell feels there are still too many quality opponents in his own division to set his sights on another.
"Going up (in weight) is always a possibility," Liddell admitted. "But there's still a few guys I need to fight at my weight. And until then I'm not going to worry about going up or down.
"I've thought about (moving to heavyweight) before, but until I get done with some of the things I want to get done at light-heavyweight it doesn't make sense to move."
And with Liddell's UFC 88 main-event clash with undefeated Rashad Evans looming just two weeks away, the 38-year-old understands the importance of victory. And with a win Liddell feels a title show should follow.
"I think I have a good chance (for a title shot) after this fight," Liddell said. "I need to go out and win, and win impressively. And then I think it would make sense."
Liddell also discussed his thoughts about his previously-scheduled bout with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, his opinion of Lyoto Machida, and why he feels his style has been so successful in the UFC. To hear the full interview download Thursday's edition of "The Lights Out Show," available for free in the TAGG Radio Network archives.
Chuck Liddell Wants Title Shot After UFC 88
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell takes on undefeated "Sugar" Rashad Evans at UFC 88 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta. If Liddell wins, he wants an opportunity to regain the title against current champion Forrest Griffin.
Liddell is confident that a win over Evans on Sept. 6 will result in a title shot. "I think it should," he told MMAWeekly.com. "I think I should have a shot at him. I don't see why I wouldn't. Who else sells as much? But I'll fight whoever.
"I think it seems to make sense for (the UFC). But that's not something I concern myself with right now. I've got to get past Rashad before any of that makes any sense."
Fans have shown interest in seeing him against UFC middleweight titleholder Anderson "The Spider" Silva, but Liddell made it clear what fight he wants if he's victorious against Evans. "I want the title shot, of course," said the former champion. "I'd like to get that and everybody else can fall in after that."
Liddell gained the UFC light heavyweight crown by defeating Randy "The Natural" "Couture at UFC 52 in April of 2005 and held the belt for more than two years. He defended the title four times before being dethroned by Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 71.
Cheick Kongo: ‘Nothing worries me too much with Brock Lesnar’ if UFC 91 fight is booked
“…. If the UFC wants me to fight Lesnar, I’ll do it for sure…. Lesnar was impressive [against Heath Herring at UFC 87]. He showed confidence in his standup striking and completely dominated Heath Herring…. I try to never underestimate any of my opponents but there’s really nothing that worries me too much with Brock Lesnar. I know it could be a tough fight, but, you know, I train hard and I will be ready for this one too. I am hungry.”
Cheick Kongo talks about a potential heavyweight showdown with Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 in Portland, Ore., at the Rose Garden Arena on November 15. In short, he’s not scared of the mammoth former highly decorated collegiate national wrestling champion. Let’s just hope the “French Sensation” has polished his takedown defense since the loss to Carmelo Marrero at UFC 64: “Unstoppable” back in 2006.
UFC Quick Quote: Dan Henderson is pissed
“I think this is a good match up for me. I’m going to be the guy that’s a lot more dangerous on my feet and it’s somewhere he doesn’t want to be with me. So it’s going to be his task to get me into his world on the ground. I’m not the easiest guy to take down, you know—so the determining factor of the fight is who can defend takedowns, who can get their takedown and if I can knock him out coming in or whatever. [Pretty] much all Palhares has is submissions. I try to come up with a game plan not to fight right in the guy’s strengths, so obviously I’m going to be trying to stay up on my feet with him. I just see myself knocking him out. I was pretty pissed at my last performance and I’m probably going to be a little bit pissed when I go out there and fight this guy. I’m ready to do a 15-minute grappling match with him if I have to, but I’m not going to lose.”
– Former PRIDE champion Dan “Hollywood” Henderson talks to UFC.com about fighting grappling phenom Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares at UFC 88 in Atlanta, Georgia on September 6. “Hendo” has his back against the wall after dropping his first two UFC matches (against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 75 and Anderson Silva at UFC 82). Has time run out on the 37 year-old superstar? Or is he going to wreak havoc on the up-and-coming Palhares? We’ll know soon enough.
Shields Ready for Daley, says Aoki Declinded
EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields is ready to defend his title for the first time, as he steps into the cage to face British heavy hitter Paul “Semtex” Daley on Oct. 4 as a part of the latest edition of CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights.
Shields’ list of potential opponents has bounced around from everyone including John Alessio to Shinya Aoki and now finally settling on Daley.
“I think it’s a good fight,” he said in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “He’s got great stand-up. I actually haven’t seen that many of his fights. I’ve got to start watching him fight. He’s a young kid, tough, so obviously I’m going to take him serious, start watching tapes and figure it out from there.”
Previous to this announcement, Shields had been waiting on an answer from EliteXC to take a fight at 185 pounds for Affliction, but that option was declined and he was brought on board for the Oct. 4 card instead.
“I really wanted to fight (Matt) Lindland, but maybe that one can be put on in the future,” Shields commented. “Right now, I’m looking at Daley, getting this win… He’s a legit opponent.”
Daley is the current Cage Rage world welterweight champion. Cage Rage is EliteXC’s sister promotion in the U.K. ProElite, Inc. owns both promotions.
“I was very disappointed, but at this point all you can do is move on and get through the fight in front of you. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to do the (Lindland) fight, but at least Elite is treating me really good and you know, they didn’t give me that fight, but they put me on CBS, gave me another good fight and I hear they’re trying to get me (Shinya) Aoki.”
Hearing Shinya Aoki’s name will likely spark up matchmaking conversation for every fan of the colorful Japanese fighter, but according to Shields, he doesn’t think the current Dream lightweight will accept the bout.
“I guess they were trying to get Aoki, but he’s got no bushido,” Shields said. “I don’t think Aoki wants to fight me. He’s got no warrior spirit. He’s from Japan, who’d have thought?”
With all the other potential opponents now behind him, Shields will focus solely on Daley. While many fighters love to try and match their opponent’s strengths going into a big fight, Shields will keep things simple.
“I’d like to take him down and submit him,” he commented. “I’m definitely not going to try and knock him out, but anything’s possible. I’m going to throw some punches.”
UFC newcomer Mike Patt discusses "Breakthrough" opportunity
"Breakthrough" is the name given to UFC 88, and for veteran fighter Michael Patt (12-2), it couldn't be more appropriate.
The veteran fighter recently stepped up as a late replacement for James Lee, who was forced to withdraw from the event due to an arm injury, and will make his long-awaited octagon debut next month at the event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) spoke to Patt as he prepares to fight fellow light heavyweight Tim Boetsch (7-2) at the Sept. 6 event in Atlanta's Philips Arena.
Patt discussed a number of topics, including taking the fight on short notice, his fighting style, training with Team Jorge Gurgel and the choices a fighter faces when the UFC calls with an opportunity.
MMAjunkie.com: You fought just one week ago on Aug. 15. Are there any lingering injuries that you'll take into your fight with Tim Boetsch ?
Michael Patt: No, I didn't take any damage in that fight. I took the fight to get some ring work in. It was a really quick fight. It lasted about two minutes. I thought I'd signed up for three five-minute rounds, but when I got to Texas, I found out they were only three three-minute rounds. I decided I didn't want to let my opponent out of the first round, so it ended quickly.
MMAjunkie.com: When you take a fight on short notice, and you are coming off such a recent fight, is it easier or harder on your body and state of mind?
Michael Patt: After a fight your body goes through what I call a "full-body hangover." It just wants a chance to recoup. My management called me at 2 a.m. and told me that I would be fighting in the UFC. Quite honestly at that point, you have two choices: take the fight, or probably never get called again. Fortunately, the full-body hangover only lasted a few days. I've been back training hard and have a few weeks left. I'll be ready.
MMAjunkie.com: You've been fighting for a while and have a pretty good record. But were you surprised by the call?
Michael Patt: I don't know. I thought I was close a few times and felt like I was knocking on the door. Things in the business have changed so much over the years, and getting noticed is more than just a good record. Being in the right place at the right time and having great management with good relationships with the UFC helps a lot.
MMAjunkie.com: You train out of Ohio with Team Jorge Gurgel, correct?
Michael Patt: Yeah, I've been training with Jorge Gurgel for a long time -- since he was a blue belt, in fact. Back when I started training, if you could find someone who was a blue belt or a purple, you had struck gold. It's a strong team and has been very good for a long time.
MMAjunkie.com: You were only recently notified about the fight, but what do you know about your opponent Tim Boetsch?
Michael Patt: He's a good wrestler, aggressive, OK stand up, not really a [Brazilian jiu-jitsu] guy, and I expect he'll want to keep it standing.
MMAjunkie.com: For people who may be unfamiliar with you and your fighting style, how would you describe yourself.
Michael Patt: Patient. I'm all over the board. I'll stand, work in the clinch, use knees and work on the ground. A lot of people enter a fight saying, "I'm going to keep it standing, or I'll take it to the ground." And when their gameplan doesn't work, they are mentally ruined. I want to hit you in the face and work from there and be comfortable wherever the fight goes.
MMAjunkie.com: You have been a free agent for a while. Do you prefer that as opposed to signing a longer-term deal with a single organization?
Michael Patt: There are plenty of places to fight, and some guys will tell you how they want to fight here or there. But given the chance, they would all fight for the UFC regardless of what they might say. It validates everything you do as a fighter. I would be very happy to call the UFC home.
MMAjunkie.com: Let's talk about the contract that brought you in for the Boetsch fight.
Michael Patt: I believe it is a standard four-fight deal, but like any contract, the company reserves the right to terminate it if I stink the place up.
MMAjunkie.com: Do you have any shout-outs or thank yous for your supporters or sponsors?
Michael Patt: Yes, I have to thank the guys at Denaro Sports Marketing, Wade Hampel at Rumble Sports Management, and Biva Advisor Group. Also I'd like to thank Pete MacCallum at Line Handlers, my strength and conditioning coach Eric Ramsey, and all the guys at Team Jorge Gurgel.
MMAjunkie.com: Do you have a website where fans and supporters can contact you?
Michael Patt: Yes, they can visit www.mikepatt.com.