5 Chuck “Iceman” Liddell vs. Renato Sobral
After Liddell won their first fight,Sobral was doing a lot of trash-talking. Sobral felt that the first fight was stopped prematurely because of Liddell’s status in the sport. Liddell couldn’t care less about status, he just wanted to mix it up with the best. And the “Iceman” took exception to the trash talk and left no doubts in this rematch that took place at UFC 62 on August 26, 2006. Liddell won by TKO in the first round topping his first performance and leaving no doubt as to who was the better fighter.
4 Chuck “Iceman” Lidell vs. Alistair Overeem
Overeem was towering over Liddell in this fight. He stood three inches taller and outweighed him by approximately 50 pounds, though the “Iceman” had no fear! Many thought he was in over his head going to Pride from the UFC to fight this mammoth who had dominated his last 12 opponents and finished them all before it got to the judges. It was August 10, 2003 and Overeem clearly towered over Liddell. But Liddell’s unshakable confidence led to a monumental knockout win in the first round. Liddell’s legend was growing and growing.
3 Chuck “Iceman” Liddell vs. Randy Couture II
After losing to Couture in the first fight on the UFC 43 card by a shocking TKO, Liddell earned the rematch by beating Ortiz. The fight took place on April 16, 2005, UFC 52 and at the time, these were unquestionably the two best fighters in the UFC. The fight came after the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and was properly promoted. Liddell returned the favor to Couture from the first fight by knocking him with his vaunted right hand in the first round. He instantly became the most popular fighter in the UFC and captured the UFC light heavyweight title.
2 Chuck “Iceman” Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz I
Coming into the fight, Liddell had lost two of his last three fights but was still a fan-favorite because of his fan-friendly style. Tito Ortiz was the most popular fighter in the UFC at this moment and the consensus favorite. Both were coming off of loses to the champion Randy Couture and desperately needed the win to remain relevant and earn the rematch with Couture. It was on April 2, 2004 at UFC 47 that Liddell stopped Ortiz in the second round and won by TKO in what was the biggest fight in UFC history at the time. Ortiz made the mistake of standing and striking with the superior striker and paid for it dearly.
1 Chuck “Iceman” Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva
This is undoubtedly the best fight in Liddell’s career and arguably the greatest fight in the history of the UFC. It took place on December 29, 2007 at UFC 79 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It was a historic card that had Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes as the co-main event. It is very rare when a fight that is widely promoted and overhyped ends up being a good scrap. Well, this fight exceeded expectations! Silva was a former dominant PrideFighting (then rival to UFC) champion and still an extremely feared striker. Liddell was a former UFC light heavyweight champion and at the time the most feared striker in the UFC. What ensued was a three-round, free-for-all roller-coaster ride. They exchanged brutal strikes and each had their moments. Both were one strike away from a knockout win and one strike away from a knockout loss throughout the majority of the fight. In the end Liddell pulled off a close decision victory in an unforgettable slugfest.
The “Iceman” was a fighter that was easy to like. He liked to trade strikes and was willing to fight anybody while remaining humble outside of the ring. The UFC would not be where it is now without Liddell, period. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. Although a case can be made for most of his fights to be on this list, these are his Top 5. Wouldn’t you agree?