• UFC 151

Liddell: I would have fought Chael Sonnen

ESPN staff
September 10, 2012 « McIlroy writes open letter to calm Olympic debate | Chartbeat test »

Chuck Liddell has done Jon Jones few favours in the popularity stakes after claiming he would have taken the fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 151.

Liddell remains arguably the most popular fighter ever to have set foot inside the famous Octagon. Defined by his trademark Mohawk and "Iceman" moniker, Liddell battered his way to the UFC light-heavyweight title and was one of the most devastating punchers of his generation.

Even in retirement, Liddell's merchandise is still hugely sought-after in the MMA community, and as a fellow 205-pounder he is well positioned to offer comment on Jones' decision to avoid Sonnen - following the initial injury withdrawal of Dan Henderson, which forced the cancellation of the UFC 151 card.

"I would have taken the fight," Liddell said on Yahoo! Sports. "But I don't make his decisions or run his career for him."

Jones claimed eight days' preparation time would not have been enough to prepare for a fighter like Sonnen, while he also said the middleweight did not deserve the shot. For Liddell, the case was different to that of Lyoto Machida - who later turned down a crack at Jones on four weeks' notice, simply because Jones would have been in 100 per cent condition, at which point he should back himself against anybody.

"If Lyoto was not in shape, I guess I understand," Liddell said. "He was beat by Jones last time and he would have wanted time to prepare. It is different from a peak Jones turning down a fight."

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