Liddell-Jackson II

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The fastest-rising star in the world’s most controversial sport, Chuck Liddell has frightened a lot of opponents — including old-school sports guys. Not bad for someone who paints his toenails. For the past six years, Liddell has been known as a badass, the best fighter in the world bar none. He’s the UFC’s current light heavyweight champion. In his 10-year career, he has lost only three fights and has gone on to avenge two of them. The third, his 2003 loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, is set for Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In 1998, while he was working as a bartender and a kickboxing instructor, a friend of a friend asked him if he wanted to try a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Liddell agreed and won. Not long after, the UFC came calling. Now Liddell has transcended the sport to become a cultural icon (witness his recent cameo on “Entourage”). He is The Guy for most guys, a real-life hero in a world of spoiled, whiny poseurs.

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