After eight years away from the cage, Chuck Liddell is making a comeback. The former UFC light heavyweight champion and UFC Hall-of-Famer is expected to rematch his former arch rival Tito Ortiz in Oscar De La Hoya’s new MMA promotion sometime later this year.
Of course, not everyone is excited about this news.
Many fans and pundits have shared their disappointment with news of Liddell’s comeback, worrying for the 48-year-old MMA legend’s well-being. UFC President Dana White seems to share this disappointment.
“I hope he’s coming out of retirement to be partners with [Golden Boy Promotions owner Oscar] De La Hoya and not to fight. I hope he doesn’t fight,” White said at the post-fight press conference for Sunday’s UFC Liverpool card (h/t MMA Fighting).
White also shared his rather low opinions of De La Hoya:
“I don’t know if De La Hoya’s that smart,” he said. “He isn’t the brightest bulb on the porch. Oscar De La Arum is not that bright, but I don’t know what he’s thinking. Hopefully Chuck’s going to be his business partner and not fight. The last thing I want to do is sh*t on Chuck Liddell, because I love him, but I asked him to retire 10 years ago for a reason.”
While White clearly doesn’t like the idea of a Chuck Liddell comeback, Liddell doesn’t seem to care.
On the same episode of The MMA Hour on which he announced his comeback plans, Liddell addressed his naysayers — including Dana White.
“With all due respect, yeah, leave it alone. Leave me alone,” Liddell said when asked about White’s criticisms of his comeback. “You promised something to me for a long time and it’s gone.”
Chuck Liddell has not fought since 2010, when he lost his third consecutive fight by knockout, succumbing to a first-round Rich Franklin punch.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/28/2018.