Although it wasn’t officially announced by the organization, most believed the main event between Rich Franklin and Chuck Liddell at UFC 115 would serve as a retirement match for the loser.
While arguments could have been made that Franklin would be able to survive back-to-back defeats, Liddell’s devastating knockout loss on Saturday night proved it’s time for “The Iceman” to call it a career.
Despite suffering a broken left forearm in the opening ticks, Franklin managed to pull out a come-from-behind victory by putting Liddell down at the 4:55 mark in the 1stRound inside GM Place in Vancouver, Canada.
“Are you kidding me? I broke my hand before and I didn’t quit. It’s [only] a broken arm! These people came here to see a fight,” Franklin said to the delight of the sell-out crowd.
Coming into the mildly anticipated tussle, Liddell had said and done everything right. The 40-year-old dedicated himself to his profession like no other time in his Hall of Fame career, emerging as a finely chiseled light heavyweight. However, it simply wasn’t enough.
The issue clearly isn’t “The Iceman’s” physique or age, it’s his inability to take a punch because of the gunslinger style that’s made him famous. Just like an NFL running back, you only have so many hits in you and Liddell has had more than his fair share.
The former light heavyweight king has now dropped five of his last six scraps, with four of them ending in knockout fashion.
Despite going from being a slight favorite to a minor underdog in the span of 10 hours, Franklin found a way to bounce back from his UFC 103 knockout loss to Vitor Belfort back in September 2009. Only UFC president Dana White knows where the former math teacher goes from here, however it’s clear Liddell should never again put on a pair of MMA gloves.