Chuck Liddell: In This Sport, If You Ever Stop Evolving, You’re Done

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Chuck Liddell has a grudge match with old rival Tito Ortiz later this month, but he’s not going about this fight in old school fashion. In fact, he’s hooked up with one of the fastest-rising gyms in MMA, Team Bodyshop, and still feels evolution is key.

After eight years in retirement, Chuck Liddell returns to action in the MMA world November 24. Fighting old rival Tito Oritz (Liddell holds two victories over his fellow UFC ex-pat), he’ll be competing atop the inaugural Golden Boy MMA card. Oscar De La Hoya’s first venture into MMA has been met with some skepticism, given the names involved and Liddell’s time away from the fight game.

However, Liddell explained Tuesday during an open workout session at King’s MMA that even before the fight with Tito came together, he was planning to return. “It was before Golden Boy reached out. I’d already gotten back into it, I’d gotten ready,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press. “I was talking to Bellator, I was talking to a few other places about setting a fight up. That was before Golden Boy reached out to me.”

Golden Boy did reach out, however, and the rest is history. Or about to be. Heading into the big night, however, Liddell has a new team. Including Antonio McKee as his main trainer. “Antonio and the Body Shop crew are going to be training me for this fight,” he confirmed.

It’s all part of changing with the times. “My diet’s changed. I’ve been on my diet for a year now. It’s not just in the camp. I used to go, training camp, then go out and party and have a good time, do whatever I wanted, then get back on my diet for training camp,” Liddell explained.

“Now it’s year round, diet’s good. I’m training good.”

Even at 48, you can learn some new tricks it seems. “A lot of things had to change, getting back into it, coming back in. Even as an older fighter, I’m working the young guys, I’m doing a lot of things they’re doing now,” Liddell said of his approach to fight camp. “A lot of things have changed since we started. When I started, we were really trying to figure out how to train for MMA. But one thing I learned back then was, in this sport if you ever stop evolving, you’re done. So you’ve got to keep evolving, you’ve got to keep evolving with the sport.”

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