Chuck Liddell

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Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell cropped.jpg
Liddell in 2009
Born Charles David Liddell
(1969-12-17) December 17, 1969 (age 44)
Santa Barbara, California, United States
Other names The Iceman
Nationality American
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Division Light heavyweight (205 lb)
Reach 76.5 in (194 cm)
Fighting out of San Luis Obispo, California
Team The Pit
Trainer John Hackleman
Ryan Langcake
John Lewis
Rank      purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[1]
     5th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate
     black belt in Koei-Kan Karate
Wrestling NCAA Division I Wrestling
Years active 1998–2010
Kickboxing record
Total 22
Wins 20
By knockout 16
Losses 2
Mixed martial arts record
Total 29
Wins 21
By knockout 13
By submission 1
By decision 7
Losses 8
By knockout 6
By submission 1
By decision 1
Other information
University California Polytechnic State University
Website www.chuckliddell.com
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
UFC Fighter Profile

Charles David "Chuck" Liddell (born December 17, 1969) is a retired American mixed martial artist and former Ultimate Fighting Championship Light Heavyweight Champion. Liddell has an extensive striking background in Kempo, Koei-Kan karate and kickboxing, as well as a grappling background in collegiate wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.[2] Liddell finished his career with the second most knockouts in UFC history, behind Anderson Silva. Liddell had 23 fights in the UFC, and along with Randy Couture, is widely credited for bringing mixed martial arts into the mainstream of American sports and entertainment.[3][4][5] On July 10, 2009, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.[6]

Early life[edit]

Liddell was born in Santa Barbara, California. He was raised by his single mother and his maternal grandfather, the latter teaching Liddell and his siblings boxing techniques from a very young age. Liddell began studying Koei-Kan karate at the age of 12;[7] the tattoo seen on his scalp reads "Koei-Kan".[8] Liddell was a four-year starter on the football team at San Marcos High School, playing center and linebacker while also excelling at wrestling. While growing up in Santa Barbara, he often frequented the infamous Del Playa Drive, the middle of the party scene of the college town of Isla Vista, where he often found himself in fights with drunk college students. He is a third-generation Irish, as his maternal great-grandparents were from Ireland.[9] He became a Division I wrestler at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo[7] and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business/Accounting in 1995. He holds an amateur kickboxing record of 20 wins and 2 losses,[10] with 16 of his wins coming by way of knockout.[11]

When Liddell started his mixed martial arts career, he began to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under John Lewis in Las Vegas, Nevada.[7]

Rise to fame[edit]

Liddell made his UFC debut in 1998 during UFC 17 in Mobile, Alabama, with a decision victory over Noe Hernandez. In his next bout, he faced the legendary Brazilian fighter, Jose "Pele" Landi-Johns, at an IVC event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which was bare-knuckle. Despite being a heavy underdog in his opponent's home country, Liddell dominated the vale tudo fighter on the feet, and won via decision. After a technical submission loss to top contender Jeremy Horn shortly after, Liddell began establishing his reputation as a top contender with dominant victories over Kevin Randleman, Murilo Bustamante, Vitor Belfort, Amar Suloev, Jeff Monson, Renato Sobral and Tito Ortiz. Liddell was also the first UFC fighter currently on the roster to go fight in Pride where he represented the organization against fellow kickboxer Guy Mezger, knocking him out cold in one of the most exciting fights in the earlier days of MMA.[12]

Liddell vs. Couture[edit]

By 2002, Liddell was considered the #1 contender for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, with growing popularity and support from his fans. The UFC tried to arrange a title bout with then-champion Tito Ortiz, but Ortiz cited scheduling conflicts.[13] To force Ortiz's hand, they created an interim light heavyweight championship and matched Liddell with Greco-Roman wrestler and former heavyweight champion "The Natural" Randy Couture at UFC 43. Couture neutralized Liddell's hooks with straight punches and eventually began taking "The Iceman" down at will. Couture eventually gained full mount and forced a referee stoppage due to a barrage of punches.

Pride Grand Prix Tournament against Overeem/Jackson[edit]

After his defeat to Couture, Liddell entered the Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix tournament as the official UFC representative. After defeating Muay Thai specialist Alistair Overeem in the first round of the tournament In an action packed bout Liddell was getting out landed by the taller, quicker and more technical striking of Overeem but later in the round Liddell landed an overhand punch to the head of Overeem staggering him into the ropes, Liddell rushed in with knees and straight rights and knocked him out at the latter stages of the first round. In the next round Liddell was eliminated by fan-favorite Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, The first round Liddell was landing shots as he found his distance but Jackson countered with powerful strikes rocking Liddell numerous times. In the second round, Jackson continued to out land Liddell with big punches but couldn't finish him. Later in the second round a visibly exhausted Liddell was taken down and while taking a barrage of punches from the ground his corner threw in the towel, giving Jackson the upset victory.

Liddell vs. Ortiz[edit]

Returning to the UFC, Liddell was once again put in contention for the light heavyweight title, preparing for a match with former champion Ortiz. Eventually, after Ortiz lost the title to Randy Couture, the two would meet in a highly anticipated bout at UFC 47 on April 2, 2004, in Las Vegas, Nevada. After most of the first round was spent feeling each other out, Liddell threw a few punches and a kick which was blocked by Ortiz, with Ortiz slapping himself on the head, taunting Liddell. When the round ended Ortiz pushed referee "Big" John McCarthy out of his way, into Liddell, and the pair exchanged words. Shortly after the second round started, Liddell landed a flurry of punches that dropped Ortiz and led to a TKO victory. Ortiz has since stated that Liddell's thumb made contact with his eye, causing him to momentarily see "nothing but black".[14] Since UFC 47, the bad blood between both fighters remained, with Ortiz repeatedly stating that he wanted "his" title belt back. Despite the tension, Ortiz and Liddell would not fight again for two and a half years.

Continued success[edit]

The Ultimate Fighter[edit]

In early 2005, Liddell was a coach on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter, Spike TV's reality show which featured fighters competing for a UFC contract.[15] Liddell was the coach of Team Liddell, while then UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture coached Team Couture. The series was a success for both Spike TV and the UFC. Both of the winners of the show, Diego Sanchez and Forrest Griffin, were members of Team Liddell and have had very successful careers in the UFC since.[16]

Liddell vs. Couture II[edit]

On April 16, 2005, at UFC 52, Liddell fought Randy Couture, again for the light heavyweight title. Couture moved in for a punch, Liddell countered with a big right hand to the temple of Couture, knocking him out cold, making him the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.

Liddell in 2007

Liddell vs. Horn II[edit]

Liddell was scheduled to defend his new title against longtime veteran Jeremy Horn, at UFC 54, a matchup the UFC claimed was demanded by long-time fans of the sport since Horn had given Liddell his first loss.[17] Throughout the bout, Liddell dominated with aggressive punches, causing knockdowns in several rounds. Liddell's defensive wrestling ability, especially his sprawl, stifled the bulk of Horn's offense, which was centered on grappling and submission wrestling. Liddell eventually won the fight via TKO in 2:46 minutes of the fourth round after Horn informed the referee that he could not see. He had been hit with a right punch to the eye causing him to bleed from his eye as well as his nose. Liddell had successfully defended his title and, in the process, avenged two of his three career losses.

Liddell vs. Couture III[edit]

On February 4, 2006, at UFC 57, Liddell faced Randy Couture in a rubber match, After an action packed first round, Liddell landed a big punch to Couture's face causing him to bleed, Couture bounced back with a take down of Liddell, but he was able to get up right away. Later in the second round as Couture moved in Liddell countered similar to in the second fight at UFC 52 knocking Couture out. defeating Couture for the second time via knockout in Las Vegas, Nevada to retain the light heavyweight championship belt. After the fight, Couture announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.

Liddell vs. Sobral II[edit]

In Liddell's next defense, at UFC 62 on August 26, 2006, Liddell would best Renato "Babalu" Sobral, who he had defeated nearly three years prior. Seconds after the fight started Sobral came running forward throwing punches, Liddell was moving backwards landing big punches, a right uppercut was the final hit in the onslaught ending the fight at 1:35 of the first round. It was announced during UFC 61 that, if he were to defeat Sobral, Liddell would face off against PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva. The fight failed to materialize due to the competing promotions' inability to reach an agreement. UFC president Dana White attributed this to Silva's subsequent knockout loss to Mirko Filipović.[18]

Liddell vs. Ortiz II[edit]

In what was the most financially successful UFC event up to that point, Liddell fought a rematch with Tito Ortiz at UFC 66, which took place on December 30, 2006. Liddell's takedown defense neutralized Ortiz's wrestling ability forcing Ortiz to stand up with a known striker. Although Ortiz did take Liddell down at one point in the fight, Liddell went on to defeat Ortiz via TKO in the third round to successfully defend his light heavyweight championship for a fourth time. It was later revealed that Liddell tore his MCL prior to the fight. In addition, during the fight he popped the tendon out on the middle finger on his left hand.[19]

Title loss and decline[edit]

Liddell vs. Jackson II[edit]

In his fifth defense, Liddell would lose the title at UFC 71 on May 26, 2007, in a rematch with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Liddell was knocked down by a right hook less than two minutes into the first round and was unable to defend himself against Jackson's strikes on the ground, resulting in a knockout victory for Jackson. After the loss, Liddell was widely criticized after reports indicated he had been seen in night clubs the week before the event. He responded that it was not anything he had not done prior to his other fights in Las Vegas.[20]

Liddell vs. Jardine[edit]

Liddell trained with American Boxing Gold Medalist Howard Davis Jr. to prepare for an April 2009 bout against Mauricio Rua.

On July 11, 2007, Dana White confirmed in an interview with Yahoo! Sports that a rumoured bout between Wanderlei Silva and Liddell had been canceled indefinitely. Silva and Liddell were supposed to fight in the main event at UFC 76 in Anaheim, California.[21] Instead, Liddell would face Keith Jardine.[22]

In the main event of UFC 76, Liddell came out landing his signature right hand to the head of Jardine, rocking him backwards as well as multiple straight right hands but Jardine stayed in the fight. After the dominant first round for Liddell, Jardine started to land low leg kicks continuously throughout the fight while Liddell was unable to time the odd formed southpaw. Liddell lost a close split decision, the first consecutive losses of his career. Liddell stated he wanted a rematch and admitted that he never took Jardine seriously at all.

Liddell vs. Silva[edit]

On October 23, 2007, White announced that a matchup between Liddell and Wanderlei Silva would finally take place at UFC 79. Liddell defeated Silva via unanimous decision, out-landing Silva with harder, more efficient punches and getting two takedowns later in the fight. Both fighters were awarded "Fight of the Night" honors. This fight was voted 2007's Fight of the Year at the first annual World Mixed Martial Arts Awards and ultimately was Chuck Liddell's final victory in MMA.

Liddell vs. Evans[edit]

On February 1, 2008, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua revealed that he had recently signed a contract to fight Liddell,[23] however on March 4 it was announced on UFC.com that Rua was receiving surgery on his knee and was forced to withdraw from the fight. It was later officially announced that undefeated wrestler "Sugar" Rashad Evans would replace Mauricio Rua in a bout at UFC 85 in London, England. However, a hamstring injury forced Liddell to withdraw from the fight, as well.[24]

On September 6, 2008, Liddell fought Rashad Evans at UFC 88. Liddell was defeated 1:51 of the second round after Evans connected with an overhand right, causing Liddell to fall unconscious to the mat.

The loss led to renewed criticism of Liddell over-relying on the same coaches and training partners.[25] Shortly following his knockout loss to Evans, long-time trainer John Hackleman confirmed that Liddell is participating in training sessions with American Top Team to "round out his skills", although he is still officially associated with Hackleman and The Pit fight team.[26]

Liddell vs. Shogun[edit]

On January 17, 2009, Dana White confirmed during the UFC 93 post fight press conference that Liddell's next fight would be against the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 97 on April 18 in Montréal, Canada.[27]

Liddell was defeated by Rua due to punches late in the first round resulting in a technical knockout. After the fight, White declared that Liddell would retire from fighting.[28][29] White stated, "I care about him. I care about his health, and it's over, man. It's over."[28] White went further, saying, "At the end of the day, I care about these guys. I don't want to see anybody stick around too long. You're never going to see Chuck Liddell on the canvas again."[29] In May however, Liddell's trainer, John Hackleman, claimed 'with confidence' that Liddell isn't done yet and that he's "definitely on top of the food chain."[30] Liddell has "more than one fight left in him." In an interview afterward, White went on to rhetorically ask "can I tell him not to fight? Absolutely not. If he still wants to fight, he can fight. I'm not saying, 'It will never happen. It will never happen.' But he made a deal with me [not to fight]."[31]

Hall of Fame and talks of retirement[edit]

On July 10, 2009, at the UFC 100 Fan Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, Liddell was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Chuck Liddell with the fans at the UFC 100 Fan Expo

After UFC 101 in August, Dana White stated that "I don't want him to (fight). He wants to, so we'll see what happens."[32] Two days afterward, Liddell went on record to say that he was undecided on the matter and that "it's hard for an athlete to quit what he's done his whole life."[33] Liddell went on to say that he would be "making that decision in the gym, not in the ring" after sparring sessions.

Liddell vs. Franklin[edit]

In his final fight Chuck Liddell suffered his third consecutive knockout defeat to Rich Franklin at UFC 115 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

It was later announced that Liddell would be coaching against fierce rival Tito Ortiz on the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter, with the two of them fighting each other on June 12, 2010, at UFC 115. However, in March, it was rumored that Ortiz was pulling out for as yet unknown reasons and Ortiz would be replaced by former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin.[34] This was then denied by UFC president Dana White.[35]

On April 7, 2010, White confirmed that Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 would be the main event for the card;[36] however, on April 12, 2010, the main event was changed to Liddell vs. Rich Franklin.

On June 12, 2010, Liddell faced Franklin at UFC 115 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Franklin connected with a counter right hook knocking Liddell out uncouncious in the first round with five seconds remaining. Earlier in the fight Franklin had broken his arm blocking a body kick from Liddell. Only a few hours after the match, UFC President Dana White declared that Chuck Liddell will not fight in the UFC ever again.[37]

UFC retirement[edit]

With the opinions and considerations of his family and friends in mind after losing three consecutive fights by knockout, Liddell decided to end his fighting career on December 29, 2010. At the UFC 125 press conference, Liddell announced his retirement and stated he would be taking the position of Vice President of Business Development within the UFC.[38] Liddell was visibly emotional at the announcement, acknowledging his retirement and an end to his fighting with words of farewell: "Most of all I want to thank my fans and my family. I love this sport and I'm excited to go to this new stage in my life and keep promoting the best sport in the world, the sport I love... now that I'm retired." On September 8, 2013, during an interview on the Opie and Anthony show, Liddell stated that there was a possibility of one last comeback, similar to George Foreman.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Liddell is associated with John Hackleman and The Pit fight team and earned a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Liddell has a brother, Sean, who also competes in MMA, fighting last in the WEC.[40] He also has a brother named Dan and a sister named Laura.[41]

With Joba Chamberlain in 2009.

Liddell continues to train in San Luis Obispo, California, where he attended college. He has two children with MMA fighter Casey Noland, a daughter named Trista, and son Cade.[42][43][44]

Chuck once dated the female host of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, Willa Ford.[45]


He is a former part-owner of two bars in Lincoln, Nebraska, Dillinger's and NZone.[46] He also owns a store called "Ultimate Iceman", a memorabilia store in San Luis Obispo.[41]

Liddell endorsed John McCain in the 2008 United States presidential election.[47][48]

Liddell proposed to his girlfriend Heidi Northcott on November 4, 2010.[49] The couple had a first child together, a daughter, in 2011.[50]

Print media[edit]

On May 9, 2007, Liddell became the first UFC fighter to be on the cover of ESPN The Magazine.[51] Liddell also released his autobiography, Iceman: My Fighting Life, on January 29, 2008.[52]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Character Notes
1981 The Postman Always Rings Twice Boy Scout Uncredited
2001 How High Tough Guy
2003 Cradle 2 the Grave Cage Fighter Uncredited
2006 Bachelor Party Vegas The Iceman
2006 Blade: The Series Graft TV series
2007 The Death and Life of Bobby Z Maddog
2007 Entourage Himself TV series (1 episode "Gotcha")
2007 Punk'd Himself TV series (1 episode)
2008 Drillbit Taylor Himself
2009 The Simpsons Himself (voice) TV series (1 episode "The Great Wife Hope")
2009 The Ballad of G.I. Joe Gung-Ho
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Martinez TV series (1 episode "Death by a Thousand Cuts")
2011 Blue Mountain State Himself TV series (1 episode "Trap Game")
2011 The Being Frank Show TV series (2 episodes)
2011 Hawaii Five-0 Himself TV series (1 episode "Ka Hakaka Maika'i")
2013 Kick-Ass 2 Himself
2013 Bones Himself TV series (1 episode "The Lady on the List")

Good Morning Texas interview[edit]

In March 2007, shortly before UFC 68, he appeared on Good Morning Texas (Texan version of Good Morning America) for an interview, and to promote the film 300, but appeared to be very drowsy and fell asleep in mid-interview. The Interview ended when Liddell asked the host who he would like to fight.[53] UFC President Dana White, along with Liddell's head coach Scott VanGilder, explained that Liddell had pneumonia and had taken a large dose of sedatives the night before the interview.

Sponsorships[edit]

Liddell has served briefly as a spokesperson on behalf of Monitronics, a security system company.

He is currently sponsored by Iceman Fight Gear- a brand designed with his input.

He is currently an actor in advertising by Miller Light.

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

Liddell was one of 16 people to compete on Season 9 of Dancing with the Stars. He and professional dance partner, Anna Trebunskaya got 11th place in Week 4.

Championships and awards[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

  • Black Belt Magazine
  • World MMA Awards

Kickboxing[edit]

  • International Kickboxing Federation
    • IKF Amateur International Rules U.S. Super Heavyweight Championship (One time)
    • Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell had an Amateur Kickboxing record of 20-2 with 16 wins coming by KO/TKO. Liddell won the International Kickboxing Federation IKF Amateur International Rules United States Super Heavyweight Title on October 17, 1996 in Bakersfield, California, USA when he defeated Scott Harmon by unanimous decision (49-45, 48-46 & 49-46).
    • Liddell lost the title in a rematch to Scott Harmon on January, 25th, 1997 in Bakersfield, CA, USA at the end of the second round when Harmon split open Liddell's chin with a hatchet kick. Liddell's trainer decided to stop the bout when he discovered in addition that Liddell also injured his shin badly.

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 21–8 Rich Franklin KO (punch) UFC 115 June 12, 2010 1 4:55 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Loss 21–7 Maurício Rua TKO (punches) UFC 97 April 18, 2009 1 4:28 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Loss 21–6 Rashad Evans KO (punch) UFC 88 September 6, 2008 2 1:51 Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Win 21–5 Wanderlei Silva Decision (unanimous) UFC 79 December 29, 2007 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night; 2007 Fight of the Year.
Loss 20–5 Keith Jardine Decision (split) UFC 76 September 22, 2007 3 5:00 Anaheim, California, United States
Loss 20–4 Quinton Jackson TKO (punches) UFC 71 May 26, 2007 1 1:53 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Lost the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 20–3 Tito Ortiz TKO (punches) UFC 66 December 30, 2006 3 3:59 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship; Fight of the Night.
Win 19–3 Renato Sobral TKO (punches) UFC 62 August 26, 2006 1 1:35 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship; Knockout of the Night.
Win 18–3 Randy Couture KO (punches) UFC 57 February 4, 2006 2 1:28 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 17–3 Jeremy Horn TKO (punches) UFC 54 August 20, 2005 4 2:46 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 16–3 Randy Couture KO (punches) UFC 52 April 16, 2005 1 2:06 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 15–3 Vernon White KO (punch) UFC 49 August 21, 2004 1 4:05 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 14–3 Tito Ortiz KO (punches) UFC 47 April 2, 2004 2 0:38 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 13–3 Quinton Jackson TKO (corner stoppage) Pride Final Conflict 2003 November 9, 2003 2 3:10 Tokyo, Japan 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Semifinals.
Win 13–2 Alistair Overeem KO (punches) Pride Total Elimination 2003 August 10, 2003 1 3:09 Saitama, Saitama, Japan 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals.
Loss 12–2 Randy Couture TKO (punches) UFC 43 June 6, 2003 3 2:39 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States For the Interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 12–1 Renato Sobral TKO (head kick & punches) UFC 40 November 22, 2002 1 2:55 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 11–1 Vitor Belfort Decision (unanimous) UFC 37.5 June 22, 2002 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States UFC Light Heavyweight Championship title eliminator.
Win 10–1 Amar Suloev Decision (unanimous) UFC 35 January 11, 2002 3 5:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States
Win 9–1 Murilo Bustamante Decision (unanimous) UFC 33 September 28, 2001 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8–1 Guy Mezger KO (punch) Pride 14 May 27, 2001 2 0:21 Kanagawa, Japan
Win 7–1 Kevin Randleman KO (punches) UFC 31 May 4, 2001 1 1:18 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 6–1 Jeff Monson Decision (unanimous) UFC 29 December 6, 2000 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 5–1 Steve Heath KO (head kick) IFC WC 9 July 18, 2000 2 5:39 Friant, California, United States
Win 4–1 Paul Jones TKO (cut) UFC 22 September 24, 1999 1 3:53 Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
Win 3–1 Kenneth Williams Submission (standing rear naked choke)[59] NG 11 March 31, 1999 1 3:35 Los Angeles, California, United States
Loss 2–1 Jeremy Horn Technical Submission (reverse arm-triangle choke) UFC 19 March 5, 1999 1 12:00 Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, United States
Win 2–0 José Landi-Jons Decision (unanimous) IVC 6 August 23, 1998 1 30:00 Sao Paulo, Brazil
Win 1–0 Noe Hernandez Decision (unanimous) UFC 17 May 15, 1998 1 12:00 Mobile, Alabama, United States

Books[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Randy Couture
6th UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
April 16, 2005 – May 26, 2007
Succeeded by
Quinton Jackson