It's been said that a fighter loses things as they get older in their careers, but usually their power is the last thing to go. I think we have witnessed the latter in Chuck Liddell, but probably just haven't noticed it until now. Liddell was one of the most formidable and dominant champions in UFC history with a string of KO victories to his credit. However, many people haven't realized that Chuck Liddell has not won by KO or TKO since defeating Tito Ortiz at UFC 66. That event took place in December of 2006.
Liddell has been featured in 4 fights since that victory over Ortiz. He has suffered 2 devastating KO losses and gone to decisions in the other two matches. Let's take a look at all four fights:
Liddell vs. Rampage Jackson 2-The fight didn't even last two minutes, and neither fighter really landed anything significant before Jackson landed the big right hand that put Liddell down. It's also safe to say that Jackson has one of the best chins in the game so we'll give Liddell a pass on this fight.
Liddell vs. Keith Jardine-Here are the stats for the fight and of course I realize the stats are subject to human error. However, as you can see Liddell landed several strikes to Jardine's head. If you watched the fight you'll remember Jardine's confidence beginning to grow as he took a couple of Liddell's punches without going down. We also have to remember that Jardine did this AFTER getting destroyed by Houston Alexander. We have also witnessed Jardine getting destroyed by Wanderlei Silva, so I think it's safe to say that Jardine doesn't possess one of the best chins in the game.
Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva-Here are the stats for this fight. Liddell landed BOMBS only to see Silva retaliate with bombs of his own. He was hitting Silva with combinations full of power shots and couldn't put Silva out or even drop him. This was against a guy that was coming off of back to back KO losses and I'm fully aware of the circumstances behind Silva's matches against Henderson and Cro Cop. However, most fighters can't stand and trade with Liddell without at least suffering a knock down. I'm aware that Silva isn't most fighters, but you would think Liddell would have been able to put him away as often as he had Silva hurt.
Liddell vs. Rashad Evans-I couldn't find the stats for this fight. I was at the fight LIVE in Atlanta, and at one point in the fight Liddell landed a crushing 1-2 combo. Evans kind of just absorbed it, backed up and did a little dance at Liddell. Also during the second round they had several exchanges in which both fighters landed some nice shots. Liddell was never really able to hurt Evans with his power shots.
So again I ask, has Liddell lost that KO power?