MMA Champion Chuck Liddell Talks About His Success With The UFC!

Chuck is coming off a recent UFC win against Wanderlei Silva and takes a few moments to talk about this and other fights. He also shares some pre-fight diet & training tips as he starts getting ready for his next fight! Read on.

Note: This interview was performed before Chuck Liddell's recent hamstring injury.

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[ Q ] Chuck, you are coming off a huge win over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in what was one of the most anticipated MMA matches of all time.

Your stand-up looked extremely sharp in the fight, but we also saw something that we had not really seen before from you; takedowns. Was this part of your game plan or just something you pulled out because you sensed it was open?
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    [ A ] It was part of the game plan. I come from a wrestling background, but don't really use it in most of my fights. We knew that they would not be expecting it from me, so we trained for it specifically to throw him off his game plan.

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[ Q ] Silva took around a dozen punches that I believe would have KO'd other fighters. At any point in the fight did you think you were close to finishing him and how surprised were you by his chin?
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    [ A ] He is a tough guy and I knew he could take a punch. We both knew it was going to be a war, so I went into it prepared to take it all the way.

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[ Q ] Your next fight is scheduled against Maricio "Shogun" Rua who is currently the No. 2 Light Heavyweight in the world (according to MMAweekly).

Rua is coming off a tough submission loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76. Do you feel this fight exposed some of Rua's weaknesses or do you think he just had a bad night? Did you see anything in that fight you feel can be used to your advantage against Rua?
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    [ A ] Haha ... I can't really answer that publicly just yet. I don't want to take anything away from Forrest, because he earned that win but in this sport anything can happen. If it did expose some of Rua's weaknesses I'm sure they are working to correct them now.

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[ Q ] Forrest was your student on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, what area do you feel he has improved most in to make him one of the top Light Heavyweights?
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    [ A ] His strength and accuracy have improved noticeably. I have trained with him since the show, and he has improved dramatically.

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[ Q ] Forrest will be fighting Quinton "Rampage" Jackson for the Light Heavyweight title at the conclusion of the Ultimate Fighter.

How do you like Forrest's chances against Rampage and what do you think about the prospect that you may have to fight your former "pupil" at some point for the title or for a title shot?
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    [ A ] Everyone knows that Forrest has a hell of a chin. He is another one of those guys who just won't fall. I really look forward to seeing them do battle.

    As far as fighting someone I have trained, you have to look at it as a sport and a business. I trained with Tito for years, and obviously I had no problem taking it to him ...

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[ Q ] In your most recent fight against Rampage where he won the belt from you, I remember John Hackleman saying that you went for a body punch in the middle of the octagon without first setting it up, something he told you never to do (Please correct me if I have misquoted him).

Was it just a matter of you made a mistake and got caught that night or has your previous fights with Rampage brought something in particular to your attention that you need to focus on improving in order to beat him if you fight for a third time?
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    [ A ]I made a mistake. I felt like I saw an opportunity and I took it, and it was my mistake. John has not let me forget that mistake either ...

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[ Q ] I understand that you want to get the title back regardless of who holds it. But is there any extra motivation to meet Rampage again since he is one of the only losses you have not avenged?
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    [ A ] It really doesn't matter who I take it from. Obviously I do want another shot at Rampage, but it doesn't have to be for the title. I will fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me to earn my title back.

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[ Q ] Wanderlei Silva recently announced in his blog that he will be fighting Keith Jardine next. It seems that this may set you up for a rematch with the winner for a possible title shot.

If that was the case, do you have a preference as to who you would fight? Would you rather fight Jardine to avenge that loss or would it not matter to you?
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    [ A ] Again, I will take whatever is put in front of me. I have a lot of respect for Keith as a fighter, and I don't think I was performing at my full potential for our fight. I would love to have a rematch now that I feel like I am back on top of my game.

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[ Q ] Can you take us through a brief overview of a day of eating & supplementation for you when preparing for a fight?
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    [ A ] I basically follow a modified Zone Diet. I have my food prepared weekly and eat 6 times a day. I supplement with Lean Protein MRP by Shocker Nutrition for better recovery. I also use AlphaMale, N.O. Extreme and Glutamine AKG every day. When I am training I also use Shockers Liquid Joint Formula 3X a day.

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[ Q ] Is there a preferred form of cardio you do or do you mix it up?
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    [ A ] I run mostly, but I like to mix it up. We run on the beach some days and others we run hills behind the gym. We also do several hours of grappling each week as mixed with some intense cardio in the ring.

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[ Q ] There have been so many memorable victories and knockouts in your career, does any one of them stand out above the rest?
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    [ A ] Tito. Both times. I don't ever go into a fight wanting to hurt someone. I just want to show them that I am better than them, and if they get hurt, it's part of the sport. I don't enjoy hurting people but I really like punching Tito in the face.

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[ Q ] Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts Chuck, it is much appreciated!
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Update
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After completion of this interview it was reported that Mauricio "Shogun" Rua withdrew from this fight due to a torn ACL sustained while training. MMA Weekly has confirmed that Rua's replacement will be Rashad "Sugar" Evans.

Evans, winner of season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter, is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career (11-0-1) and 6-0-1 in the UFC. In his last fight he won a split decision victory over season 3 Ultimate Fighter winner, Michael Bisping.

Before that he fought former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz to a unanimous draw. This fight will headline UFC 85 on June 7 in Atlanta, Geo.