What's one to do when contemplating retirement? If you're Chuck Liddell, you go Dancing with the Stars. "I thought it would be a good experience and a good chance for people to see what fighters are like outside the ring," the former Ultimate Fighting Champion tells TVGuide.com. So what are they like outside the ring and on the dance floor? See what Liddell says and find out why he thinks he'll be sticking around Dancing for a bit.
TVGuide.com: There are pictures of you with painted toenails last week and some people thought you did that for Dancing.
Liddell: Oh, no. I've done that for a long time. I started in 2004. It was a joke when I first started. My buddies wanted me to paint them all black, but I painted them all black except for a big toe, which I painted pink. And I forgot all about it. I walked around in flip-flops and I had no idea why people were giving me these weird looks. Then I figured out it was my toenails and I've done it ever since. I've done different colors. That's actually probably the most pink I've done my toenails the other day.
TVGuide.com: They look good.
Liddell: Thank you. Don't tell people I didn't do that good of a job!
TVGuide.com: Some people have busted your chops for doing Dancing. What do you have to say?
Liddell: I don't care. They bust my chops for everything! All my friends think it's funny. But they better freakin' watch! [The show pursued me] in the past, but I would've had to take time off from fighting and I didn't want to do that. Now I'm still debating whether to retire or not and I'm taking time off, so I have time to do it before I start training for a fight again.
TVGuide.com: We saw you supporting Willa Ford on the show a few years ago. Did you pick up any moves from her?
Liddell: [Laughs] Not really. I was just there to watch and cheer.
TVGuide.com: I would think you would have good footwork. Does that translate to the dance floor?
Liddell: If I can get my feet to do what they want them to do, then yeah! I have quick feet, but it's just about doing everything at the right time. That's the hard thing for me — to do everything at the right time and at the same time. I have to get my feet going and I'm bending my shoulders, bending my elbow, have my head up. It's all the little things. It's harder than it looks. [Laughs] Anna [Trebunskaya, Liddell's partner] is great. It's tough. It's all different to me. With each day, it seems like I'm getting better, so we're just slowly working toward getting better.
TVGuide.com: Are you saying you have no dance experience?
Liddell: None whatsoever. I did a country-swing class, like a two-stepping swing class, a couple times in college. I like to go dance. Do I think I'm a good dancer? Not really. I have fun dancing. It's something I like to do, but I've never been a great dancer.
TVGuide.com: What dances do you have?
Liddell: We actually did a bunch of moves from a few different dances. I think foxtrot and salsa are ours. I don't even know! We're trying to do a little everything while we have time. We'll probably try to work some [mixed martial arts] moves in there.
TVGuide.com: You have a fanbase, but do you think they'll follow you to Dancing?
Liddell: Yeah, I think they'll watch and vote to keep me on so they can keep making fun of me!
TVGuide.com: You could surprise them all and be a great dancer.
Liddell: Yeah, but no matter what, they're going to make fun of me. But I could wear the manliest outfit or the most flamboyant outfit on there and they'll still make fun of me. I'm not worried about the costumes. I'm going to laugh at them myself. I'm trying to have fun with it. I am going to try to win, but I don't want to make it a job. I'm going to go out and have fun.
TVGuide.com: If you win, where will you put the trophy?
Liddell: [Laughs] I haven't thought about that. That's a good question. That one might actually make it up in my living room somewhere. That would be a shock. The title I'm most shocked at winning!