Long before Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Georges St-Pierre and Conor McGregor became Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mega stars, there was one man helping to usher in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) as its first big star.
Making his promotional debut at UFC 17 way back in 1998, Chuck Liddell went 8-1 in his first nine bouts, leaving behind a trail of destruction thanks to his ferocious fighting style and heavy hands.
After coming up short against Randy Couture at UFC 43 in his first-ever UFC world title fight, Liddell went on to redeem himself and eventually scored his much-desired fight against Tito Ortiz, knocking him out at UFC 47. Two fights later, “The Iceman” got his revenge on Randy Couture by knocking out “The Natural” at UFC 52 to win the 205-pound title. It was then that Chuck went on a seven fight win streak, all via knockout, and helped propel him into the sports first real big star.
In the latest entry in UFC’s “25 Years in Short” documentary series, the promotion documents Liddell’s rise as the sports first mega star during his run as UFC’s Light Heavyweight champion.
Unfortunately for Chuck, his final years inside the Octagon weren’t too fruitful, as he ended his combat career with a 1-6 mark, losing five of those matchups via knockout. Still, Chuck’s legacy was already cemented as one of the best ever, and one of the true pioneers of MMA.