Interview with Chuck Liddell


By Dean Stattmann

From appearing in TV shows and movies to taking on some of the toughest badasses in the UFC, there’s not much that legendary fighter Chuck Liddell can’t handle. It’s no wonder tickets for his upcoming UFC 115 event with Rich Franklin sold out in a record-setting 30 minutes after going on sale.

Fortunately, Men’s Fitness was able to catch up with The Iceman recently at the Reebok Sports Club in New York City to get his thoughts on The Ultimate Fighter, UFC 115 and his best moment in the Octagon.

You’ve been spending a lot of time in New York promoting for UFC and now helping Reebok demo their latest shoe. Do you like spending time in the city?
I love it. I always have a good time out here. My grandpa is from Brooklyn and my grandma is from Syracuse so I used to come down here quite a bit.

You’re coaching a team on this season of Spike’s hit show The Ultimate Fighter. Are you guys still filming?
No, it’s all done except for the finale. It was cool. I’m not a big fan of reality shows but I liked working with the guys. It taught me a lot about teaching. We’re working with guys that are already pretty good at what they do, so if they don’t understand what to do then I’m not teaching them right. It also taught me a lot about what I do. It reminds you of the way you fight. You have to learn your own details before you can teach them. And especially at this level, with these types of guys, that’s what you need to teach them. They know most of the basic moves, but you need to teach them the details. The details are what make a difference. To teach the details you have to pay attention to what you’re doing. I used to have that problem with a couple of moves I used to do, so it’s a good learning process, for them and for me.

You’re getting ready to fight Rich Franklin in UFC 115. What are you doing to prepare?
It’s everything. My training is ramping up, getting harder and harder, but I’ve been in shape for a while so now we’re picking it up. I had to switch to southpaw though, because he’s a southpaw.

You were supposed to fight Tito Ortiz, but now obviously that’s not happening. Have you had to adapt your training for the new card?
There’s not much of a difference other than the fact that he’s a southpaw. I’ve got to get ready because he’s good everywhere. He’s decent at everything. But he’s not really a big threat to take me down, so if it goes to the ground it’s because I decided it should. But he is a much better striker than Tito.

A lot of people are upset that you won’t be fighting Tito. How do you feel?
I called it. After the shit he said on the show I really wanted to [fight]. I still really want to knock him out. It is what it is. He ran his mouth and now I get to say ‘I told you so’ to Dana. I told him that he wouldn’t fight me and that he was just going to use this to get on TV.

Do you still hope to fight him one day?
I don’t care. Honestly. I mean I’ve already knocked him out twice. All I want though is, if he decides to come back to the UFC, he should have to fight me to get back in. If he wants to fight in the UFC he has to get past me first. Just call me and let me take care of it.

A lot of people are interested now in getting into MMA, but it’s such a mixed medium that it can be hard to find a starting point. What’s your advice for starting up?
You can actually find a lot of gyms that do teach mixed martial arts. But it’s just like with any martial art — you’ve got to look at the coaches, go watch some classes, see how people treat each other and how the coaches treat the students. Pay attention to the details.

What’s your diet like right now?
I eat a balanced diet. I actually have a guy who cooks for me at home. It’s 40/30/30 — so 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. It’s healthy. It’s clean. It’s real simple. When I’m training at home I have five meals for the day that I just heat up. It’s all planned and that’s what I eat. There are enough calories in there for me for the day, and each week as my weight goes up and down we’ll add or lose calories.

Lastly, what is your best memory from inside the Octagon?
You know, it’s hard to say. I’ve had a lot of good ones and I’ve had a lot of bad ones. Any time I’ve lost has been devastating to me, but the best would probably have to be when I beat Randy for the first time. I had already lost to him and I came back with a first round knockout for the title. It was the biggest Pay Per View that the UFC had had at the time by far and it was just a big day for me. That was my best moment inside the Octagon.

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