Photo of Chuck Liddell by Jeff Vinnick for Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
And with his takedown defense, it could have been a short night for the "American Gangster."
That's assuming former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell was in the same position Jon Jones was, when Dan Henderson's injury jeopardized the UFC 151 pay-per-view (PPV) fight card, which was scheduled to go down earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"Bones" didn't find a Chael Sonnen match-up to be in his favor after training his entire camp for "Hendo," and basically told UFC President Dana White, "Thanks, but no thanks," leading to ZUFFA's landmark decision to scrap the event altogether and re-seed future cards with the leftover talent.
"The Iceman" tells MMA Weekly how he would have handled it, after the jump:
"I would have taken the fight, but I don't make his decisions or run his career for him. [Lyoto Machida's decision,] that's a different thing. Machida would have got a title fight he was in line for, whereas Chael was taking a title fight he wasn't in line for. If Lyoto was not in shape, I guess I understand. He was beat by Jones last time and he would have wanted time to prepare. It is different from a peak Jones turning down a fight."
"Bones" got broken by the mixed martial arts (MMA) community after White held a special UFC 151 conference call to blame his 205-pound champion -- and the "murderer" who coaches him -- for having to pull up the stakes and fold up the promotion's tent at the Mandalay Bay.
He later softened his stance.
It's (mostly) water under the bridge for fans, who are now gearing up for UFC 152: "Jones vs. Belfort" after "The Phenom" stepped in when Machida wouldn't. In fact, we're less than two weeks away from their headliner at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Sept. 22, 2012.
Who do you think Chuck will be rooting for?