Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell was one of the most feared bad-asses in UFC’s early days and still holds the record for most knockouts (13). Even at 46, he looks like somebody you don’t want to tangle with.
Liddell has been talking trash in a running feud with Jon Jones, who will fight Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight championship in the highly anticipated UFC 200 July 9 at T-Mobile Arena, and says he’s very excited about coming to town for the weekend.
UFC 200 is the highlight of International Fight Week in Las Vegas, the world’s most celebrated event in the sport of mixed-martial arts.
Liddell, now an executive with UFC, gave Vegas Seven his perspective on the upcoming fights, the state of the sport and his new TV show.
UFC 200 is getting a lot of hype. What’s the significance of this fight?
Looking only at the card, UFC 200 will have the most firepower per fight the UFC has ever seen. Three current UFC champions, six former UFC champions, one former K1 champion, one former Pride champion, three Ultimate Fighter champions and 93 fight night bonuses. Why wouldn’t UFC 200 get the hype? The card is ridiculous. The UFC is providing a must-see spectacle for everyone from the die-hard MMA fans to the casual sports and entertainment fan. I’m excited to see the fights on Saturday night.
What do you see for the future of UFC in Vegas?
Well, I know UFC 200 is taking place at a state-of-the-art new facility (T-Mobile Arena). Vegas continues to be the combat sports capital of the world, and with all the up-and-coming talent the UFC has to offer, I believe the sport will continue to grow and reach heights it’s never seen before.
Any particular bout you’re looking forward to seeing this week?
As a former light heavyweight champion, I’m interested in seeing how the second matchup between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier turns out, mainly because the dynamic of the fight is interesting. Jones won the first fight (in January 2015). However, after watching the fight and breaking it down, I realized Jones didn’t really win each round by a landslide. He won each round by just a little bit, just enough to win the rounds. If Cormier comes out in better shape and is able to take the fight to Jon for five straight rounds hard, we will see one hell of a fight because Jones does tend to rise to the level of his opponents.
Who do you see winning the fight?
I’m not going to make any predictions, but I hope the best fighter comes out on top. In my mind, I know who that fighter is, but you never know what’s going to happen inside the Octagon, and like Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
You’re promoting your new TV show, Kingdom. What’s that about?
Kingdom is the only mixed martial arts-themed drama series on television. It airs Wednesday nights exclusively on AT&T Audience Network. On Friday (July 8) and Saturday (July 9), Kingdom Korner will be open to the public from 4 p.m. to midnight at the Spanish steps at Caesars Palace. It will provide Las Vegas residents and MMA fans an opportunity to get inside the Octagon to shoot a 360-degree photo of themselves, along with the chance to walk away with a cool T-shirt that includes their name and a slogan from the show. All in all, this is a very cool way for fans to get an up-close and personal view of what it’s like to be in the actual cage. They can also take a photo with me inside the cage from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday.