Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (21-5), arguably MMA’s biggest star just as the sport began its march toward the mainstream, is appalled by Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson (2-0) and says a checkered past of beating up a “bunch of guys on the street” is the only reason for his popularity.
Liddell talked about EliteXC’s prized heavyweight in a recent interview with our friend Mark Gilbert of The Sun.
According to Liddell, Ferguson is training and learning MMA, but he “hasn’t done anything” to earn the praise he receives.
“Kimbo’s one of those guys who doesn’t have any ground game,” Liddell told The Sun. “He’s training and he’s learning but he’s been built up as such a big star, and that’s the thing that bothers me.
“People talk about him like he’s the next great thing when he really hasn’t done anything. He’s been built up because of the Internet and him beating a bunch of guys on the street.”
Ferguson’s initial fame came from underground fight videos posted on YouTube and other video-sharing websites. Based in Miami, the 34-year-old almost always dominated his opponents in the bare-knuckle fights. (Ferguson, though, was eventually stopped by Boston police officer Sean Gannon, who was later signed by the UFC with a mere 1-0 professional record.)
“I could make some impressive knockout videos too if you let me walk outside and just punch people and knock them out—“hey you, come fight!” Liddell told The Sun. “F*** we can make a highlight reel tomorrow and go round beating people up and talking about it. We could just go up to people and start dropping them. Wow!”
Liddell is currently slated to face Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 85, an event that takes place June 7 in London. After winning seven consecutive fights, Liddell suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career, losing his belt to Quinton Jackson in the process. He rebounded for a victory over Wanderlei Silva in December.
Ferguson, meanwhile, is slated to headline the first EliteXC-CBS event on May 31. The organization hasn’t announced an opponent, but James Thompson appears to be the leading candidate.