Sunday, September 23, 2007

Liddell's future in question after UFC 76 loss

After Saturday’s football game I caught a replay of Cal Poly graduate Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell’s UFC light heavyweight fight against Keith “Dean of Mean” Jardine.
Just like I was surprised that Division II Western Oregon was able to hang with the Mustangs on the football field, I was somewhat surprised when Jardine hung with Liddell in the Octagon.
I’d seen Jardine fight a couple times before as an undercard to Liddell’s main events and always thought he’d be a good test for “The Iceman.” But I never though Liddell would get beat by him.
That’s what happened late Saturday night when Jardine shocked the former light heavyweight in UFC 76, going the distance and winning a split decision. Jardine made the most of his legs, kicking Liddell throughout the bout and handing the San Luis Obispo-based fighter and former Mustang wrestler back-to-back losses for the first time in his storied Ultimate Fighting career.
In less than a year, Liddell has gone from the most feared striker in mixed martial arts to a second-tier contender for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s belt.
Saturday’s loss will make it extremely tough for the 37-year-old Liddell -- who was once the face of the sport -- to get a timely rematch with “Rampage” and could signal the beginning of the end for a fighter some have called the greatest MMA light heavyweight ever.

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