T Nation

You're John Hackleman, What Now?

Hey guys, figured this might be interesting to see the different opinions on getting Liddel back in the W circle after talking about it on the light heavy thread by Damici.

What in your opinion, is John Hackleman not doing right to prepare Chuck Liddel for these fights? One would think he knows that the same old Chuck strategy needs to be tweaked, yet we’re not seeing this.

Everyone in the game knows wtf he’s going to do every time he gets in the ring, and he’s not pulling it off anymore.

Should he emphasize keeping the hands up?
Should he work on ground action more?
Should he get his kicks going again?
More elbows, like the nice one we saw in the Wandy fight?

All of the above imo. I’m interested in your valued opinions over here. Let’s hear what you would do if you were John Hackleman.

Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that retiring isn’t an option yet either, lol.

The big thing, I think, is to add more variety to his striking. He’s still a devastating striker, so he’ll still want to keep fights standing. But he’s largely gotten away from throwing kicks, and I think that’s beginning to hurt him in terms of trying to set up that KO punch.

You saw it in the Evans fight. He was only looking for that KO punch, which is why he threw that uppercut without setting it up, left himself exposed and got caught. Rashad was smart and stayed on the outside during the fight, but had Liddell gone for some leg and body kicks, it would’ve opened up his strikes.

A takedown or two, like he did in the Wanderlei fight, isn’t a bad idea either, solely from the fact that it scores him points.

UFC can still get 1-3 big fights out of Chuck (Shogun, Anderson, Franklin all possible), but he needs to string together a few wins before they can even talk about him competing for the title again.

[quote]Djwlfpack wrote:
The big thing, I think, is to add more variety to his striking. He’s still a devastating striker, so he’ll still want to keep fights standing. But he’s largely gotten away from throwing kicks, and I think that’s beginning to hurt him in terms of trying to set up that KO punch.

You saw it in the Evans fight. He was only looking for that KO punch, which is why he threw that uppercut without setting it up, left himself exposed and got caught. Rashad was smart and stayed on the outside during the fight, but had Liddell gone for some leg and body kicks, it would’ve opened up his strikes.

A takedown or two, like he did in the Wanderlei fight, isn’t a bad idea either, solely from the fact that it scores him points.

UFC can still get 1-3 big fights out of Chuck (Shogun, Anderson, Franklin all possible), but he needs to string together a few wins before they can even talk about him competing for the title again.[/quote]

Great points D. I think the leg kicks HAVE to come into play like you’re saying. Yeah he might get taken down, but he’s got to open things up somehow, and that’s a formidable weapon he already has vs. any kind of new grappling or sub stuff which I just can’t see happening soon enough.

Very good points. I like the kicks idea a lot. So much of it, though, seems like it needs to be a back to the basics kinda thing. Re-learn to throw a right hand without SUCH a HUGE telegraph. Re-learn to set things up with a jab, use his left hand a lot more. Re-emphasize the strategy of making guys come to him a bit more. Re-learn some head movement while punching. It’s not that Chuck doesn’t know these things at all, just a re-emphasis and trip back to the basics.

Interesting thing is that if you read a lot of hackleman interviews he’s been trying to have Chuck throw kicks, punches in combos etc. he trains all of that with him but he just doesn’t do it in the cage. he apparently doesn’t listen to his corner all that much.

As a technical striker he’s crap but he’s still devestating. He just needs to open up his techniques more. Head movement, better footwork, headkicks, knees, elbows, keeping his hands up.

honestly it’s shit that’s “fundamental” that’s getting him killed. imo the way hackleman taught him “we keep our hands down to be prepared to defend against the takedown” just isn’t going to work anymore. People realize they can bang with him… Thats how Rampage beat him in the first place and how he barely squeaked by his pride fights. When people aren’t afraid to bang with chuck he’s forced to use his other aspects of mma game (which are good…really good…)he’s good at everything just doesnt use it.

Either Chuck changes and adapts or he gets his ass kicked. Everyone you mentioned (anderson shogun franklin) if he keeps fighting the same way should damn near walk through him.

thats how you fight a counter fighter, you counterfight him… by FORCING chuck to do something he’s not used to (engage) he left himself open. It’s easy to throw an uppercut with your hands down when that guy is already exposed with a bolo punch or going for a takedown but when he’s countering off of YOU and his fundamentals are sound… you get knocked the fuck out.

[quote]danew wrote:
Very good points. I like the kicks idea a lot. So much of it, though, seems like it needs to be a back to the basics kinda thing. Re-learn to throw a right hand without SUCH a HUGE telegraph. Re-learn to set things up with a jab, use his left hand a lot more. Re-emphasize the strategy of making guys come to him a bit more. Re-learn some head movement while punching. It’s not that Chuck doesn’t know these things at all, just a re-emphasis and trip back to the basics.[/quote]

Lol +1 we wrote this at the same time, i just blab a lot more than you.

If I were Hackleman:

I think I would start to question my whole system of ‘screw technique, just swing as hard as you can’.

And to answer any replies, Hackleman essentialy described his system as such in an interview a few years ago.

I used to think Hackleman was Chuck’s daddy or something…they actually look a lot alike…

Seriously…maybe that’s the problem…they’re more like family to each other.

Honestly, Hackleman should have nothing to do with Chuck if he’s going to have some sort of late career revitalization. Chuck needs to step outside of his comfort zone and train somewhere new. The sport has evolved to the point where people need to learn from different viewpoints all the time.

Randy didn’t turn it around until he left Team Quest and started a new gym with hand picked trainers from all over the country. Rampage didn’t resurge from his devastating Pride losses until he found a brand new training team and got a new trainer. Guys like BJ Penn, and especially George St. Pierre, train in different camps all the time and constantly welcome new fighters into their gyms for the experience. Fedor leaves Russia and spends lots of time training at gyms in Holland.

Chuck doesn’t need the same old voices telling him new things, he needs new voices telling him things he already knows.

You know, everyone was calling for Randy’s retirement after his first knockout lost to Chuck, and definitely after his second. Now people are clamoring for Randy to fight Fedor to determine the greatest HW…Chuck is 7 years younger than Randy, there’s still plenty of time left for him to make a couple adjustments.

This only solidifies my opinion that everyone is way too quick to write a fighter off, “only as good as your last fight” should be tattooed on the forehead of every fighter to remember how shitty the sport’s fans are.

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
Honestly, Hackleman should have nothing to do with Chuck if he’s going to have some sort of late career revitalization. Chuck needs to step outside of his comfort zone and train somewhere new. The sport has evolved to the point where people need to learn from different viewpoints all the time.

Randy didn’t turn it around until he left Team Quest and started a new gym with hand picked trainers from all over the country. Rampage didn’t resurge from his devastating Pride losses until he found a brand new training team and got a new trainer. Guys like BJ Penn, and especially George St. Pierre, train in different camps all the time and constantly welcome new fighters into their gyms for the experience. Fedor leaves Russia and spends lots of time training at gyms in Holland.

Chuck doesn’t need the same old voices telling him new things, he needs new voices telling him things he already knows.[/quote]

I think this sums up the most important thing staring him straight in the face. Now whether it’s Chuck not listenting to John, or John not emphasizing a different strategy more, instead of more of the same, changing environments must be considered if Chuck is serious about turning things around. Not to be a knock against John at all, it’s just like you said, new blood makes for improved performance when you just can’t wring any more blood out of a specific turnip so to speak. I think perhaps they’re just too close and have worked together for too long to enhance one another anymore. Too many very talented people out there to give a new perspective and “bite” into what he comes to the table with to simply blow off going somewhere else imho.

I was thinking this probably a few fights back, but it really seems like solid advice at this juncture.

Thanks guys, good stuff.

ToneBone

[quote]slimjim wrote:
You know, everyone was calling for Randy’s retirement after his first knockout lost to Chuck, and definitely after his second. Now people are clamoring for Randy to fight Fedor to determine the greatest HW…Chuck is 7 years younger than Randy, there’s still plenty of time left for him to make a couple adjustments.

This only solidifies my opinion that everyone is way too quick to write a fighter off, “only as good as your last fight” should be tattooed on the forehead of every fighter to remember how shitty the sport’s fans are.[/quote]

I hear you slim, but with Chuck we’re talking 3 out of the last 4 fights now.

[quote]InTheZone wrote:
slimjim wrote:
You know, everyone was calling for Randy’s retirement after his first knockout lost to Chuck, and definitely after his second. Now people are clamoring for Randy to fight Fedor to determine the greatest HW…Chuck is 7 years younger than Randy, there’s still plenty of time left for him to make a couple adjustments.

This only solidifies my opinion that everyone is way too quick to write a fighter off, “only as good as your last fight” should be tattooed on the forehead of every fighter to remember how shitty the sport’s fans are.

I hear you slim, but with Chuck we’re talking 3 out of the last 4 fights now.[/quote]

Crap, I meant to put this in the other thread about the UFC LHW’s…this one is really only discussing what Chuck needs to change which is not quite bashing him.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
InTheZone wrote:
slimjim wrote:
You know, everyone was calling for Randy’s retirement after his first knockout lost to Chuck, and definitely after his second. Now people are clamoring for Randy to fight Fedor to determine the greatest HW…Chuck is 7 years younger than Randy, there’s still plenty of time left for him to make a couple adjustments.

This only solidifies my opinion that everyone is way too quick to write a fighter off, “only as good as your last fight” should be tattooed on the forehead of every fighter to remember how shitty the sport’s fans are.

I hear you slim, but with Chuck we’re talking 3 out of the last 4 fights now.

Crap, I meant to put this in the other thread about the UFC LHW’s…this one is really only discussing what Chuck needs to change which is not quite bashing him.[/quote]

Lol, gotcha.

[quote]Big_Boss wrote:
I used to think Hackleman was Chuck’s daddy or something…they actually look a lot alike…

Seriously…maybe that’s the problem…they’re more like family to each other.[/quote]

Yeah, they are like family at this point. Which is a good thing and a bad thing as it regards Chuck’s fight career. His wagon has been tied to Hackleman for so long, it’d be weird to see him training with anyone else.

Kenpo does call upon different forms of martial arts (they do specialize somewhat in striking but train ground stuff) so it’s not like Chuck is only training in standup. I don’t know if Hack can convince Chuck to switch up his game at this point, though.

What would be cool is if Hack still helped train Chuck but have Liddell visit different camps (Xtreme Couture would be great for him) like GSP and do his training at several different spots.

Who else has Hackleman trained that’s any good? My sense is that he is the problem. If chuck wants to fight at an elite level he needs to train with elite guys.

[quote]dhickey wrote:
Who else has Hackleman trained that’s any good? My sense is that he is the problem. If chuck wants to fight at an elite level he needs to train with elite guys.[/quote]

There ya go. I don’t know of anyone else in the ranks of the fighters of the UFC that has been trained solely by John. I know there are high caliber guys that seem to go through his camp briefly here and there, but nobody at the level that Chuck’s at trains solely over there, afaik.

I think DJ’s got a pretty solid idea if John could stomach it. Having Chuck go to a few different places could be amazingly good for him. Don’t know that the ego’s could handle it in reality though. So much time has been spent there, and it’s been a mistake in my honest opinion to be in this game and be locked down in one camp for that long.

I think Chuck probably has to do some soul searching and realize that he needs to go somewhere else, as hard as that might be for him to do. I hope he does.

That would be amazing if he actually did go through to Greg Jacksons camp wouldn’t it? That would be crazy good though.
There’s a super sized ego at play here though, and this is going to take a humble mind to decide on going anywhere else. Hey you never know, look at all the crazy shit we saw this past year in the sport right?!!

[quote]dhickey wrote:
Who else has Hackleman trained that’s any good? My sense is that he is the problem. If chuck wants to fight at an elite level he needs to train with elite guys.[/quote]

He trained Chuck into one of the most dominant MMA champions ever, I wouldn’t call him a “problem”. It’s just that guys get stale working in the same environment all the time, and things like the basics they learned long ago start to erode.

Just look at boxing. The top trainers like Emmanual Steward, Freddie Roach, Mayweather Sr., Teddy Atlas, etc will be training a top fighter one fight, and be training his opponent the next. Just getting a fresh pair of eyes on what you are doing can make all the difference.

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
dhickey wrote:
Who else has Hackleman trained that’s any good? My sense is that he is the problem. If chuck wants to fight at an elite level he needs to train with elite guys.

He trained Chuck into one of the most dominant MMA champions ever, I wouldn’t call him a “problem”. It’s just that guys get stale working in the same environment all the time, and things like the basics they learned long ago start to erode.

Just look at boxing. The top trainers like Emmanual Steward, Freddie Roach, Mayweather Sr., Teddy Atlas, etc will be training a top fighter one fight, and be training his opponent the next. Just getting a fresh pair of eyes on what you are doing can make all the difference.[/quote]

Well put Donut.

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
dhickey wrote:
Who else has Hackleman trained that’s any good? My sense is that he is the problem. If chuck wants to fight at an elite level he needs to train with elite guys.

He trained Chuck into one of the most dominant MMA champions ever, I wouldn’t call him a “problem”. It’s just that guys get stale working in the same environment all the time, and things like the basics they learned long ago start to erode.

Just look at boxing. The top trainers like Emmanual Steward, Freddie Roach, Mayweather Sr., Teddy Atlas, etc will be training a top fighter one fight, and be training his opponent the next. Just getting a fresh pair of eyes on what you are doing can make all the difference.[/quote]

I think the problem is that they haven’t evolved with the sport. You see it time and time again with fighters. I think this time it is the camp that hasn’t evolved. I just don’t see them cornering other successful fighters.