Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell will tomorrow attempt to revive his career and prove many doubters wrong by taking on former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin in a light heavyweight bout as the main event of UFC 115: Liddell Vs. Franklin. “The Iceman” is 1-4 in his last five fights with his most recent loss coming by way of knockout in April of 2009 to current champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The fact that Liddell was finished decisively in three of those four losses had UFC President Dana White calling for his friend and former client’s retirement. After a long period of back and forth between White and Liddell’s trainer John Hackleman over whether or not “The Iceman” should retire, the decision was eventually made that Liddell would come back for at least one fight; taking a coaching job on The Ultimate Fighter and then facing off against the opposing coach. Originally, Liddell was to take on rival Tito Ortiz but after a neck injury forced Ortiz out of their match and out of his coaching duties on the show, Franklin was brought in as Liddell’s opponent. Throughout Liddell’s year-long hiatus many wondered whether or not he would ever return to Mixed Martial Arts competition. The question has been answered and “The Iceman” will compete at least once more, tomorrow night against Rich Franklin in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. However, White recently told Fighters Only that Liddell’s comeback could be short-lived; for if he loses tomorrow, he will certainly be done competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“Yes, and I think he will say the same thing,” said White when asked if a loss Saturday would spell the end for Liddell. “But let me tell you what the difference is – the difference before, when I wanted him retired, was that he wasn’t doing the right thing. He was out partying every night and doing the wrong thing not the right thing. He wasn’t living the life of a professional athlete.”
White also told Fighters Only that Liddell’s renewed drive and dedication are the main reasons why he agreed to allow Liddell to again fight under the UFC banner.
“He and I sat down and talked and I will tell you what, he has kept his word,” White said. “He has been in phenomenal shape since the beginning of The Ultimate Fighter and it will be interesting to see how he does. Because Rick Franklin is tough, he is no joke. He had that war with Dan Henderson that many people believe he won, he had the war with Wanderlei Silva – he has fought all the best in the world.”
So it would seem that this Saturday will provide a glimpse of Liddell’s future; should he win, he will be allowed at least one more fight on the comeback trail–should he lose he may never again compete in MMA (at least in the UFC).