At 48 years of age, UFC Hall-of-Famer Chuck Liddell decided to come out of an eight-year retirement. During a recent interview with Larry King, “The Iceman” stated that his desire to return was because he was “not able to end his career in his own terms.”
In another interview on Monday’s episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN, Liddell said that coming out of retirement was also about proving his doubters wrong.
“I wasn’t really ready to leave when I left. I love this sport. I love fighting. I love training,” Liddell said (transcript via MMA Mania). “And I feel that I’ve still got some fight in me. Part of it is people told me I couldn’t. If you tell me I can’t do something, I like to prove to you that I can.”
Liddell, however, is a bit amused at the motivation of his upcoming opponent Tito Ortiz, whom he will be facing for a third time.
“He keeps saying I’m a shell of the man I was [and] now he can beat me,” Liddell said of Ortiz. “Why would you even want to promote that? ‘The only reason I can beat you now is because you’re a shell of the man you used to be’?”
Now that the former UFC light heavyweight champion is out of retirement, he plans on staying actively involved with MMA, one way or another.
“I am going to open a gym after this,” he said I am going to stay in the sport, competing at least as a coach, if nothing else. This whole journey gets me back to my love of the sport, to being in and around the sport. I missed it.”
The Liddell-Ortiz trilogy is set to take place under Golden Boy Promotions on November 24th at The Forum in Los Angeles.