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Could Chuck Liddell Be In Retirement Denial?

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Chuck Liddell recently spoke with SI.Com and had this to say on retirement and when he could possibly fight again:

"I haven't personally made a decision one way or the other."

"Hopefully my brain can heal over time," he continued. "The shot last fight is something that normally wouldn't hurt me. I think I need at least some time off from getting hit. I'm going to take time off sparring then. I'll train still. Still gonna roll. I'll probably do a little more jiu-jitsu than normal because I like it. It's fun."

 Right after Liddell suffered the latest KO loss to Shogun Rua at UFC 97, I wrote that the end had comefor the beloved 'Iceman'.  In the above statement, it's almost like he knows it as well but just doesn't want to admit it.  Time off isn't going to help a fighters ability to absorb a punch better.  In fact, Liddell has already been trying this method of taking A LOT of time inbetween fights.  Check his last 3 fights:

  • Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79-December 29th, 2007
  • Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans at UFC 88-September 6th, 2008
  • Chuck Liddell vs. Shogun Rua at UFC 97-April 18th, 2009

Prior to UFC 79 Liddell fought Keith Jardine at UFC 75 which was about a normal 3 month gap inbetween fights.  Most fighters of Liddell's stature fight about every 3-4 months or so, but Liddell had a 8 month gap and a 7 month gap between his last 2 fights.  He told that he wouldn't consider fighting again until April of 2010, which would be a year from the Shogun Rua fight.  Liddell will turn 40 yrs old in December of this year.  His style of fighting is just going to make him more vulnerable the older he gets.  Do you think Liddell is in retirement denial?