Former welterweight champion Matt Hughes came to the defense of his friend Chuck Liddell and Liddell’s two fight losing streak during Tuesday’s UFC 79 conference call.
“A lot of people are talking about Chuck’s age or him having two losses in a row,” said Hughes. “I really don’t think that is going to be a factor [in the fight]. If you look at Randy Couture, he’s 43 or 44 years old right now, and some would say that he is the best fighter that he has ever been. And Chuck is not that old yet. “
Hughes went on to point out the high level of success that he was able to achieve after suffering two consecutive losses himself.
“There was a time when I had two losses in a row – one in the UFC and one to Jose Pele Landi-Jons – and I was about to retire,” he remembered. “[But I] ended up winning the world title and defending it nine times in a row. People don’t understand that if you haven’t lost two fights in your career, then you haven’t fought the right people, to be honest. It’s just unfortunate for Chuck that they were two losses in a row.”
It’s true that Liddell has fought and beaten most of the best fighters that the UFC has had to offer over the years, undoubtedly cementing his legacy as one of the greatest light heavyweights the sport has known; a point that was not lost on Hughes.
“Chuck’s legacy, if you will, is going to live forever,” Hughes stated. “He has done so much in this sport. He is surely going to be in the Hall of Fame [when he retires]. He could retire right now, without fighting this fight, and still be [considered] one of the greatest in his weight class.”
As for Liddell’s upcoming match up against Brazilian MMA legend Wanderlei Silva:
“I think that if Chuck comes to the fight in shape against Wanderlei Silva, then this is going to be a great match for him. There is no doubt about it. Chuck is my buddy, and I’m always going to be rooting for him.”