Chuck Liddell's complete interview with Luke Thomas for 106.7 The Fan
Earlier today we took a look back at UFC 33, part of our Minus 100 series here at MMA Nation. This morning, Luke Thomas had an opportunity to talk to the legendary "Iceman" Chuck Liddell about his experience as part of the UFC's return to pay per view and the promotion's first ever event in Las Vegas.
The fight was one of several in which Liddell revolutionized modern fighting. Bustamante, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert, desperately wanted the fight on the ground, looking to twist and choke his way to the win. Liddell, a college wrestlers at Cal Poly, fended him off at every turn. Liddell, unlike previous wrestlers including Dan Severn and Mark Coleman, didn't want to take Bustamante down. Instead, he used his wrestling as a defense rather than an offense, using it to stay on his feet and drop bombs. Bustamante never came close to grounding Liddell.
"His takedowns? They weren't very good. He was one of those guys you were told 'Don't go on the ground with him at all.' I'd hit him and he'd fall back and just lay on his back...wanting me to come on top of him. That wasn't happening."
The fight wasn't the most exciting of either man's career. It was one of several dull affairs on a card Dana White has called the worst in UFC history. Liddell think he probably could have done more to end it early, rather than allow the fight to go to the judges.
"I think, looking back at it, I probably should have followed him a few more times," Liddell told Thomas in an exclusive interview. "Looking back at it, I think I gave him more respect than I needed to with his ground. But I had been told you just don't go to the ground with this guy. And maybe it was a smart thing? I won the fight, so I'll take it."