John Hackleman: I BEGGED Liddell to change his ‘Stand and Bang’ Fighting Style

Posted: January 22, 2014 in Commentary/Opinion, Latest news
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chuck-liddellJohn Hackleman helped make Chuck Liddell a UFC Hall of Famer. He also begged Liddelll to adapt his fighting style toward the end of his career—and Chuck wouldn’t do it. Hackleman appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast to chat about a few things, including his prized pupil, Liddell. Hackleman says he begged Chuck to make some changes, but when push came to shove, he just couldn’t abandon his “bangin” style that made him a champion.

“Towards the end of his career I begged him not to (stand and bang) so much and he still wouldn’t,” says Hackleman. “He would not stop bangin’. He banged ’till the end. He couldn’t help it.”

“We would spend hours and hours and hours [on it]. We put the little thing down between his chin and his shoulders to keep his chin down. To keep his hands up, I’d put weights in his hands, stuff under his arms. Hours and hours and he would drill it, drill it, drill it. The second he hit someone and just saw that little spark in the eye, that killer instinct would take over and he’d drop his hands to his hips, put his chin up in the air and just start swinging for the knockout. He’d forget everything.”

That may not come as a big surprise to most observers. Liddell’s bread and butter was that he could dish it out like no one else—and take it just the same. But all those battles took their toll on “the Iceman.” He ended his historic career by losing 5 of his final 6 fights—four by knockout. The last one—against Rich Franklin—prompted Dana White to say that Liddell would never fight again.

Hackleman says that story isn’t completely true. While White did make that statement, he didn’t force Liddell’s hand into retirement. It was Liddell who made the call.

“What people don’t realize, including Dana, was that I wanted Chuck to retire from before he even started,” Hackleman explained. “I didn’t want him to fight at all. Now he’s fighting. He loves fighting and it’s his passion. [Chuck’s] gonna say when he’s gonna quit. I saw him get hurt really bad with Rich Franklin. Right then it was done. Right then I said, ‘That’s it. That’s the last one. No more.’ And [Chuck] didn’t disagree.”

“He wanted to go out a banger and he did.”


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