5:03 PM PT -- The jury is still out on Liddell's fight prediction ... but he's having a hell of a week regardless -- the guy got his UFC Hall of Fame jacket from Dana White on Friday, and it was awesome!
As we previously reported ... Dana White says UFC doctors believe Conor is in the best shape of his life leading up to his highly-anticipated return to the Octagon.
But, Liddell ain't worried about any of that talk ... telling us at the California Strong celebrity softball game he thinks Cowboy will win if he controls the fight off the rip.
"I think if Cowboy comes out and convinces he was gonna take him down, get after him and get him guessin' whether or not you're gonna go up and down, I think Cowboy can do it," The Iceman says.
FYI -- the fight is going down at T-Mobile Arena on Jan. 18 and can only be streamed on ESPN+ ... so we'll see if Liddell's right about his prediction.
BTW -- Conor and Cowboy faced off at their press conference on Wednesday ... and it turned into an all-out bro fest!!
Conor praised Cowboy's career and said he respects the hell outta his game ... and the two traded compliments on each others' outfits. Cute stuff.
Liddell doesn't think all hope is lost for Conor though ... saying, "If he lets Conor get comfortable out there and firing at will, he might get one and run into trouble."
He added, "[Conor's] always going to be tough. He's always a tough striker. People have their questions whether or not he's been having some struggling from some issues lately ... but I'm a big fan of Cowboy, hopefully, he comes out with a win."