Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (21-8, former UFC Light heavyweight Champion)
Whenever you think of the UFC, Chuck Liddell is one of the first things that comes to mind. Chuck started practicing Koei-Kan Karate at an early age and also wrestled during his time in college at California Polytechnic State University. He first fought in the UFC in May 1998 and won via unanimous decision. He was submitted in his next UFC fight before winning his next 7 UFC fights and got a shot at the interim light heavyweight belt against Randy Couture. He lost late in the third round, but at that point he had built a reputation in the UFC as a dangerous knockout fighter and because of this he had a massive target on him. This was evident in his next fights against Tito Ortiz and Vernon White. Both entered cocky and over-confident that they could take out The Iceman, but both fighters ended up unconscious on the mat. He got another shot at the belt and made the most of it by knocking out Couture in 2 minutes. The fight had barely started and the Iceman connected with a right to become champion. Chuck went on to defend his belt 4 more times ending all the fights by TKO or KO. His last successful title defense against Tito Ortiz was one of the most lucrative MMA events ever and also had over 1 million Pay-Per-View buys.
All good things come to an end and in his next fight, Chuck was knocked out by Quintin Rampage Jackson in just 2 minutes. Chuck has always been known to have an iron chin and toughness, but this was the first fight he looked vulnerable. He lost a tough decision before squeaking out a decision over Wanderlei Silva. However, that was the last time Chuck Liddell would ever win in the octagon. Since then, he’s been knocked out 3 times by 3 top fighters, most recently by Rich Franklin despite breaking his arm mid-fight. His dedication has been questioned as he’s explored other opportunities such as acting (guest starred in Entourage, Dancing With The Stars). It’s unseen if Chuck Liddell will ever fight again in the UFC and rightfully so. Tito Ortiz might talk him into it, but he shouldn’t take it. He’s synonymous with the UFC and MMA as he’s one of the best lightweights to ever step into the octagon, but he’s tried extending his career too long and he’s ended up paying for it dearly. He’s still a Hall-of-Famer, and is part of the reason why UFC has become what it is today, but his legacy could have been much more if he would have ended his career years ago. This is what earns him a spot as our first ever has been.