It's been nearly seven years since UFC legend Chuck Liddell was in the Octagon, and almost a decade since he held up his arms in victory. But as we learned this week, the 47-year-old is thinking about a comeback.
The news comes courtesy of Liddell's trainer, who appeared on the “Anik and Florian" podcast and said his fighter's return to the cage would depend entirely on who would fight him.
"It would all depend on the match. I’m not gonna name who I would let him fight — well, it’s not up to me to let him fight or not — but who I would OK (him fighting) and who I wouldn’t," John Hackleman said.
What could possibility draw Liddell back into the ring? The most obvious thing is money. Hackleman drops the $3 million figure in the above interview, but also suggests that even that might not be enough for Liddell to risk his health and his legacy. But would $4 million be enough? How about $5 million?
The other reason Liddell could be drawn back into the ring? He's a fighter, and fighters like to fight. There's a reason 53-year-old Randy Couture keeps talking about his own comeback and Vitor Belfort is angling for a UFC legends league—these guys may be getting older, but their passion remains.
Of course, passion isn't enough to save your life in the ring. You also need the reflexes and coordination that tends to fade in old age. It's impossible to say where Liddell stands in that regard, and that picture of him looking ripped isn't going to convince us of anything. There's a big difference between having abs and being able to compete inside the Octagon.
If Liddell does pursue this, he's going to have a lot of doubters. This is a dude who, despite being a legend, exited the UFC after three straight KOs. He was only 40 then, and he was ending fight after fight in a deep sleep. Why should anyone believe he could do better now?
For reference, here's how his final fight, against Rich Franklin, ended.
And here's how the one before that, against Mauricio Rua, ended.
And here's how the one before that, against Rashad Evans, ended.