Slack's Greatest Rivalries: Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell
By: Jack Slack, FIGHTLAND
"On June 6th 2003, Chuck Liddell stepped into the cage against the thirty-nine year old Randy Couture. Couture was making his light heavyweight debut and coming off of two back-to-back TKO losses at heavyweight. It didn’t look good on paper – an old wrestler fighting for the first time in a new division paired up against a young knockout artist in Liddell, who was on a streak of ten wins, and who was known for being impossibly hard to keep down and for knocking out wrestlers.
"It seemed like a showcase match, plain and simple. The UFC had been pushing Liddell like nobody's business. His consistent knockout power and exciting style made him seem like the man who could finally take the UFC out of the bars and into the living rooms. Ultimately Liddell's incredible career did bring MMA a great deal closer to the mainstream, but June 6th 2003 wasn't the night he would do it.
"Understand that Chuck Liddell had made a career out of forcing grapplers to work for the takedowns, and then when they finally got one, he'd stand right back up. Popularizing the wall walk strategy, Liddell killed any hopes of holding him down or submitting him. Combined with his incredible knockout power, Liddell seemed to be the only guy capable of fulfilling the commonplace fan desire to see a brawl. “Stand them up, Ref! This is America'!”