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Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton Jackson - 'Rampage' Jackson vs 'The Iceman' in the UFC Octagon

By Robert Rousseau,
As Chuck Liddell finished off the Huntington Beach Bad Boy Tito Ortiz by knockout on December 30, 2006, it was time to reflect. The victory was his seventh straight, all by knockout. Impressive enough as it stands. Still, when one considers the fighters he's defeated during the streak- Randy Couture ( twice ), Jeremy Horn, Tito Ortiz ( twice ), Vernon White, and Renato "Babalu" Sobral- things get even more impressive.

Still, there is more for Chuck Liddell to accomplish. For example, when Joe Rogan brought up the possibility of a rematch with the newly acquired Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, he said the following.

"I can't wait to get that rematch."

For those of you out there that don't know this, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is the last person to defeat Chuck Liddell. He did so during PRIDE-Final Conflict 2003. In other words, The PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix.

More was lost by the UFC on that night than just the PRIDE Grand Prix Title, however ( though Liddell was beaten in convincing fashion ). Word has it that UFC President Dana White was so confident Liddell would win he put a very hefty wager on it.

Thus, many walked away from the television that night believing that PRIDE's middleweights were better than the UFC's ( after all, Jackson, who had beaten Liddell rather badly, later got ripped up by Wanderlei Silva ).

However, word is that Liddell was hurt before the fight, which didn't allow him to train appropriately. Further, Liddell had lost to Randy Couture during that same 12 month period.

But the next two times they fought, things were different.

So now that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is in the UFC, one has to assume that Liddell will get another long awaited crack at him. Will this fight, like his battles with Couture, go differently the next time around?

Let's break it down for consideration.

Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell - Liddell sports a 20-3 overall MMA record with 13 wins coming by way of (T)KO. He only has one submission victory, and these two statistics seem to tell the story on him.

No one hits harder than Liddell in the 205 pound division. Further, his takedown defense is also unmatched ( even if you succeed in getting him to the mat, that doesn't mean you'll be able to keep him there ). However, it would stand to reason that if Liddell does end up on the ground for any length of time, well, he could be in trouble.

In conjunction with this, Liddell's submission skills and guard are below average ( though his guard was proven serviceable against Couture in their first fight, not much else good can be said about it ). Further, he is a very good technical striker, but not a great one ( we're not talking Anderson Silva here ).

Thing is, though, does any of this matter? Liddell just waits for that one opening, hits it, and ends the fight. And if you can't get him to the ground, well, uh oh!

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson - Jackson sports an overall MMA record of 25-6-0 and has spent most of his career in the PRIDE organization getting it. Eleven of his victories have come by way of (T)KO, with seven others coming by way of submission.

Here's the skinny. No one is more powerful ( stronger ) than Jackson in this division. Further, he has very good takedown skills ( in a large way because of his strength ), takedown defense, and technical striking skills.

Jackson has seven submission victories to his credit; however, that stat can be somewhat misleading as most of these came in smaller market venues. Truth is his bread and butter is getting you on the ground and pounding you into jelly.

Beyond the aforementioned, Jackson has only been defeated by submission once in his career ( Kazushi Sakuraba ). In fact, his patented power was clearly on display when on June 20, 2004 he picked Ricardo Arona up over his head ( while in the man's triangle ) and slammed his way out of it.

The slam was so vicious that Arona was knocked out in the process; how's that for submission defense?

Though Jackson does have a good jaw; it's not impenetrable. Along with this, he was knocked out rather viciously by Wanderlei Silva twice.

How Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton Jackson Might Go Down in the Octagon

First, the fact that this fight would be in an Octagon rather than a ring probably wouldn't have any bearing. If anything, it's easier to get someone to the ground in an Octagon.

However, the American crowd would clearly be pulling for Chuck Liddell in this one. That might have an effect.

The last time these two met, Jackson continually beat Chuck Liddell to the punch by utilizing straight strikes that found their way inside Liddell's patented looping ones. Further, Liddell tired quickly ( perhaps due to the aforementioned injury ). Eventually, Jackson got him to the ground and won via TKO.

Three Questions that will Likely Decide the Winner of this Fight

First, was Jackson's ability to stand and trade with Liddell in their first fight a symptom of The Iceman's injury, or was it simply because his striking skills ( and those of PRIDE fighters ) are better?

Second, even if Jackson's striking skills were better in the first fight, are they still? After all, no one has looked better in the 205 pound division than Chuck Liddell over the last couple of years.

And last, is Quinton Jackson over the beatings he took at the hands of Wanderlei Silva? Following his second knockout loss to the PRIDE Middleweight Champion, Jackson looked like a former shell of himself in a close victory over Murilo Rua and loss to his brother, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. In recent fights, Jackson has looked more like the fighter we used to know.

But are those losses still somehow in his head?

In sum, there are really only three fights out there in this division that would be worth seeing when it comes to Chuck Liddell. Of the three - Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson - only Jackson is currently in the UFC. Therefore, here's hoping that Dana White puts this one together soon.

Then we'll all have our answers.

Related Articles:

Liddell: "I'll retire in the training room, not after a fight."

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