"I think the Rampage knockout softened him up. Not mentally, but I think he became vulnerable. People had more confidence when they fought Chuck after RampageÂ…I just think other opponents like Rashad and others had a different mental approach to Chuck. He appeared more human to them rather than all of the hype he had before," stated trainer Juanito Ibarra as he shared his thoughts on Chuck Liddell's loss to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and whether or not he should retire. Check it out!
PC: Juanito, it seems like the KO from Rampage started it off. I have to ask you, what did you think of Liddell's fight with Shogun and what do you think his next move should be?
JI: With Chuck, I've always respected the guy with all that he's done for the sport and him being such a go getter. He's always in front of you; he's had some great success with his knockouts, which put him on top of MMA. Who isn't a fan of Chuck? When you're knocking guys out, you gotta cheer for a guy like that. Chuck is getting up there in age and we all get up there in age and we don't want to face Father Time. And everybody's time is a little different. Going back to when Rampage fought him, I just seen his vulnerabilities and we capitalized on them of course. I told Rampage then that if he can take him out the way he did, that it would really soften Chuck up. I felt that in my heart and it's nothing negative towards Chuck. I think Chuck is the kind of guy that trains very viciously and very hard. He puts a lot of sparring in and sometimes that could get you. That catches up to you in time. I think the Rampage knockout softened him up. Not mentally, but I think he became vulnerable. People had more confidence when they fought Chuck after Rampage. But he's still very life threatening because he can take you out in a half of a second. I just think other opponents like Rashad and others had a different mental approach to Chuck. He appeared more human to them rather than all of the hype he had before. People were intimidated by that.
I still think Chuck is a great fighter and when his time is up, that's up to him. When you're an athlete, you have to make that decision. I just haven't seen much change in Chuck. Even before the Rampage fight, I just haven't seen much change. He had to make some changes in order not to be so vulnerable. I'm a fan of his and I wish him nothing but the best.
PC: The scary thing when I saw Chuck fight is that the shot Shogun dropped him with was not that flush. The shots from Rampage and Rashad, and even Jardine's shot, were solid, but Shogun's shot just wasn't very flush to me and that's scary.
JI: Yeah! I like Shogun, but I was rooting for Chuck. I've always had something for Shogun because he beat my former student and that's when I took over Rampage. So I always wanted that opportunity for my student to fight a guy that beat him. Shogun is a fabulous fighter and I respect him with the utmost, but I was rooting for Chuck in that fight. I was rooting for him for a lot of reasons. Bringing in the boxing coach that he did, Howard Davis Jr., I knew his pop and he was a good fighter. I thought maybe he could teach Chuck some things, but when you're being taught new tricks, you need to spend a lot of time with your new student. You can't bring in a boxing coach that really knows how to teach for 4 to 6 weeks and expect major results. You gotta spend time with them between fights and really learn and then you apply in your mission plan when it's time to fight; because teaching is different from training. If Chuck would have had more teaching in between his fights and just changed things up a little bit, I don't think he would have been so vulnerable. But he went back to his old habits and he got caught. But that's what fighting is. It's about getting caught. It's not like a boxing glove. These gloves are 4 oz.; it's almost a fist. You're talking about 2 to 4 inches you can get caught to where a boxing glove is more rounded and padded, so it's not as easy to get caught. So your discipline has to be even better in MMA. It was just scary to see Chuck fall like that a couple of times. I didn't enjoy it. I hope the fans still have respect for the guy. I hear he has another fight left on his contract. I think he should pick a good opponent and go out on top. I wish him all the best.
PC: What do you think of Anderson Silva's last couple of performances and the criticism that's come with those performances?
JI: I think he's a phenom. I really do. He's an incredible athlete and what a gentleman. I met him a couple of times at fights when I was training Rampage and he's just a class act. As far as the sport, I think people are being hard on him. Yeah, people want to see the rough, tough and the grueling matches constantly, but this guy's mental game is like a chess player. He's looking to win and improve his skills and some people may not appreciate that. I'm the kind of teacher that wants to see my fighter fight, but sometimes you have to play chess. I just think he did a little bit of too much of a chess game, but you can't blame him though. He fought a smart fight. He didn't want to go to the ground and he didn't go to the ground. It was dangerous on the ground. I think he could have closed the gap a little bit more and been more aggressive, but who am I to say. A fight is a fight!
PC: It's always good to catch up with you my man. Thanks for your time Juanito. Anything else you want to add.
JI: Thank you Percy. God bless brother.