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Интервю с Chuck Liddell


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'The Iceman' has faced him twice before - losing on both occasions- but he reckons he would get the better of Jackson if the pair met for a third encounter.

Liddell said: "I want to fight Rampage real badly. I actually think I match up very well against him, but I've managed to lose to him twice now.

"But the third fight will not have anything to do with the first two, it will be a fresh start. Rampage is the one fight I really want, as much as I want my title back.

"He's lost the belt now, so I can't beat him and win the title back in one fight, but I want to fight him just as bad as when he was champion."

Liddell faces Rashad Evans in the main event at UFC 88, with the winner expected to earn a title shot against light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin.

And The Iceman is predicting he will be the man to end Evans' unbeaten Octagon run when the pair collide on September 6.

Liddell added: "Evans is a very different type of challenge because he is very fast, goes for takedowns, and has a mentality to try and take the fight into his comfort zone.

"I won't allow him to do that, I'll pressure him for three rounds if I have to but I think I'll knock him out. I think I'll get to him. I have real doubts about his shot.

"He won't be able to take me down. He had a hard time taking Michael Bisping down in his last fight, and I'm known for stopping shots. "

Liddell uncharacteristically suffered two consecutive defeats inside a year in 2007 - first to Jackson at UFC 71 and then to Keith Jardine at UFC 76.

He recalled: "The Rampage fight, I just made a dumb mistake by throwing a lead hook to the body from so far out and then pulling straight back.

"I've done that in sparring and got away with it and my trainer John Hackleman has gone nuts at me for doing it. But I still did it and I guess that was that. It was a dumb mistake and Rampage did what he had to do and countered me.

"With the Jardine fight, I just wasn't myself. No excuses, but sometimes you go to work and don't do your best stuff. It was a close fight.

"I had two losses last year but I never felt that I was finished, I feel as good as ever. Retirement never entered my head or my trainer's head. After the Jardine fight I was back in the gym a week later."

And the hard work paid off with one of Liddell's biggest-ever victories coming three months after his loss to Jardine - against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79.

The fight saw former PRIDE star Silva face the lightweight legend in a clash fans had waited ten years to see - and it more than lived up to the billing.

Liddell said: "We both had a lot riding on that fight. I didn't feel like I had anything to prove, but some people did. I didn't get that...wasn't I just the light heavyweight champ who'd knocked all these guys out?

"It was a great fight, that was why people had talked about it for so many years. I had the perfect gameplan to beat him and I executed it great inside the Octagon.

"I hit him and hurt him a couple of times, I used my reach, and threw in a few takedowns to confuse him. It was a great fight, he can hit hard.

The victory silenced critics who said Liddell's best days in MMA were behind him, and now the former champion has set his sights on retaining the light heavyweight title - after he gets through Evans.

Liddell said: "I figured because I held the title for so long, I would be getting a title shot after I beat Silva but for whatever reason it didn't work out that way.

"So after this fight I want the title shot, yeah. I was asked about fighting Forrest when he won the Ultimate Fighter three years ago, and I said he's not ready and I'd beat him up. But he's ready now and it would be a great fight."

And Liddell moved to dismiss reports he could be about to hang up his gloves in the next twelve months, but refused to rule out a career in Hollywood when he finally quits MMA.

He said: "I feel great, I love to fight and to knock people out, and as long as I can compete at this level I'll keep going.

"I've got no interest in being anyone's stepping stone. If I can't beat the best guys I will do something else but I love to fight, and I've proved myself to pretty good at it.

"I did a movie when I was 12, I was in 'the Postman Always Knocks Twice', a Jack Nicholson movie. I was in a scene where I was misbehaving and Nicholson tells me to shut up.

"I did it mainly to get a day off school, but it was fun. Now because of the popularity of the UFC, I'm getting offers for other movies and instead of a day off school I'm getting paid. It is fun to do. I'd like to do more movies, but training and fighting comes first and I've got no plans to stop anytime soon."

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