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Former light-heavyweight champ and UFC Hall of Famer Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell helped the UFC transition from spectacle to sport, thanks to his brutal slugfests. Now, the 47-year-old is making a transition of his own, from the Octagon to the big screen, where he plays an MMA champion in the forthcoming indie thriller Choke Hold.
M&F: What’s the best all-time UFC rivalry: Liddell-Couture or McGregor-Diaz?
CL: The newest rivalry is interesting, but it depends on who you talk to, I guess. But me and Randy makes sense.
Any guy you wish you would’ve fought?
Jon Jones. My style matches up with his. He’s good at making guys fight where he wants them to, and he wouldn’t be able to do that with me. He’d be stuck on his feet, getting punched or exchanging punches, and I don’t think he hits hard enough to punch with me. Not in my prime, for sure.
How is your training different today?
I try to stay in shape, though it doesn’t compare with how I trained for fights. Recently I trained with one of my buddies and a bunch of top 10 fighters, and I had to split early. I sat down and couldn’t see for about 10 minutes. I was like, “Oh, shit, I never want to get in that shape again.” So coming straight back to train with guys who are getting ready for fights—probably not the smartest move. But l plan to stay in decent shape year-round.
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Is preparation for a role different from prepping for a UFC fight?
It’s kind of like a fight camp: You get ready, train for it, and then go perform. Acting is a skill that you have to work on. I’ve been working on it for a while, and I still feel like I’ve got a long way to go.
Do you ever feel typecast always playing the tough guy? Like, playing MMA champion Marco Reign in Choke Hold is something you probably had no trouble doing, right?
Yeah. That kind of stuff is easy for me because I’m used to acting like that for people. My friends will be like, “Hey, it’s my friend’s birthday, go pretend like you’re mad at him. Get him scared.” I think it’s funny. I’m used to doing that kind of acting.
Who’s the best Iceman: Chuck Liddell, NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin, or Val Kilmer’s character in Top Gun?
That’s a tough one, but I’m going to have to pick me.