Jeremy Stephens loves Chuck Liddell -- saying he's an MMA legend and a guy he looked up to when he was a young buck in the UFC.
But when it comes to the Iceman's desire to return to the cage ... Jeremy's begging him to reconsider.
"His time has come and gone," Jeremy told TMZ Sports. "Stay retired, Chuck."
Stephens says the fight game ain't like other professions ... and when it's clear you're done, you should stay done.
FYI, Chuck's 48, hasn't fought in 8 YEARS and lost 5 outta his last 6 UFC fights -- 4 of 'em by KO. But Liddell told us he's still down to scrap if the right offer comes along.
Bonus: Wanna know how Jeremy's quest to bang Conor McGregor's mom is going?
Of course you do.