Orphaned as a child, Liu Kang was taken in by the Order of Light's Shaolin Temple, hidden in the mountains of Honan Province in China. Trained in the teachings of the Great Kung Lao, Liu Kang's talent in the martial arts caught the attention of Lord Raiden. Raiden saw Earthrealm's last hope in the young warrior monk, and took Liu Kang to see the legendary Outworld master of martial arts, Bo' Rai Cho to further the young Shaolin's development. After several years Liu Kang's training was complete, and then he was enrolled into the top secret White Lotus Society, an order of warriors created by Raiden to defend the Earthrealm. As the tenth generation of the Mortal Kombat Tournament approached, Liu Kang was summoned by Shaolin Grandmaster Wu, and was sent by the Temple of Light to defeat Shang Tsung. He desired to defeat Shang Tsung and bring the tournament back to its Shaolin owners. As he made his way to the tournament, he met and became friends with Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. At the time of Liu Kang's entry, Outworld had won nine Mortal Kombat tournaments in a row. Eventually, Liu Kang earned the right to challenge Goro to Mortal Kombat. By exploiting the Shokan's overconfidence, Liu Kang defeated Goro and became the new Champion of Mortal Kombat. Upon hearing of Goro's defeat, Shang Tsung challenged him.
After an epic battle, Liu Kang defeated Shang Tsung with his Flying Kick taught to him by Bo' Rai Cho, causing the destruction of the island fortress due to Shang Tsung's defeat, then returns home from the destruction as the new Mortal Kombat Champion.
Coming home from Tsung's Island, he found many of his Shaolin killed in a vicious attack by a Tarkatan horde. Enraged, Liu Kang decided to travel to Outworld, backed by fellow White Lotus member and spiritual brother Kung Lao, Raiden, Sub-Zero (the younger brother of the original Sub-Zero who was killed by Scorpion), and Smoke to seek revenge. Before he traveled to Outworld, Liu Kang went to Hollywood to seek Johnny Cage's help.
Luckily, Liu Kang arrived at the right time as Cage was being attacked by a Tarkatan horde. Now joined with Johnny and Sonya's superior Jax, they finally traveled to Outworld. At the tournament, he and Kung Lao met Kitana, and Liu Kang began to fall in love with her. He learned the true nature of the Outworld tournament but competed anyway. While it is unclear as to what matches took place, it is known that Liu Kang fought Shao Kahn, eventually overpowering the emperor. It is also strongly possible he also faced Shang Tsung in front of Shao Kahn, defeating him despite his youth and renewed powers, and Kintaro as well. Near defeat, Kahn ordered his forces to destroy the earth fighters, forcing Earth's heroes to return home and to begin preparing for the coming invasion.
After returning to Earthrealm, Liu Kang, along with Kung Lao, began training a new generation of Shaolin Warriors, but was interrupted when the invasion began. As Kahn's extermination squads were sent to kill Earth's chosen warriors, Liu Kang found himself the primary target. Kung Lao, who went against Shao Kahn, was nearly killed by a powerfull spell. Enraged, Liu Kang challenged the Emperor to Mortal Kombat, and after the final battle, he defeated Shao Kahn again, causing him and his forces to retreat back to Outworld. The souls that Khan had trapped were set free and, just before the portal closed, Liu Kang was thanked by Kitana for his part in saving both Earth and her realm from Shao Kahn.
Liu Kang traveled to America to look for a new generation of Shaolin warriors to train. While there in America, he met his old friend Kai. The two then traveled back to China, where Liu Kang trained Kai to be a Shaolin Warrior. However, the peace was not to last, as the fallen Elder God Shinnok had escaped from the Netherrealm through a portal to Edenia. Upon learning that Kitana had been captured, Liu Kang set out on his own to save her, but he was unsuccessful. Liu Kang returned to Earth, where he began gathering Earth's warriors to save Earth and assist his mentor, Raiden.
Eventually, Liu Kang confronted the fallen Elder God Shinnok and once again emerged victorious, effectively ending his attack on Earth. Liu Kang returned to the Shaolin Temples, believing he has lost Kitana forever. However, the Edenian Princess appeared through a portal from Edenia and thanked Liu Kang for all he had done. She offered him a chance to join her at the throne of Edenia. However, due to the responsibilities as a Mortal Kombat Champion, Liu Kang was forced to decline her
For many years, Liu Kang went on to enjoy relative peace. However, the Deadly Alliance would make itself known on Earth by its successful assassination of Liu Kang. Shang Tsung posed as Kung Lao and snuck up on the champion as he was practicing his katas. Shang Tsung, after being beaten down by Liu Kang, would be assisted by Quan Chi, who injured Liu Kang by hitting him in the back with a projectile while he was focused on Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung used this distraction to gain the upper hand and snapped Liu Kang's neck, consuming his soul shortly after. Liu Kang's mutilated body was discovered by his fellow Shaolin monk Kung Lao, and he was laid to rest at the Wu Shi Academy, where a shrine was built to honor him.
In the culmination of events, Raiden released his godlike essence in order to destroy Onaga, presumably killing both Quan Chi and Shang Tsung in the process. Liu Kang witnessed these events through Shang Tsung's eyes. While it is unknown whether or not Quan Chi and Shang Tsung truly died, it has been established that the thousands of souls that Tsung consumed in the past were released, including that of Liu Kang. Furthermore, Raiden, now somehow corrupted in his reformation, reanimated Liu Kang's body and sent it on a rampage, slaughtering many of Liu Kang's fellow Shaolin monks. Liu Kang's spirit decided to stay in Outworld to assist in the war against Onaga, but he soon discovered his body's "resurrection" and was stricken by what he had done. Although Liu Kang wasn't technically responsible, he couldn't help but feel responsibility for the actions committed by his corpse. He also learned about his comrades and how they had been enslaved by Onaga. From there, Liu Kang enlisted the mysterious ninja Ermac as an ally and had two missions to complete. The first was to try and save his friends from Onaga with Ermac, the second to defeat and stop his body from doing further harm. Liu Kang was actually aware that Shujinko was deceived by Onaga into getting the Kamidogu. However, Liu Kang gladly taught Shujinko his techniques to help him. With that finished, Liu Kang then set out to complete his missions with Ermac. Liu Kang successfully saved his friends from Onaga's enslavement and had an emotional, albeit short, reunion with those closest to him. After going seperate ways with his friends, Liu Kang set out to accomplish his most dire task - reuniting with his body.
According to Nightwolf's bio, Kitana was accompanied by the spirit of Liu Kang. The bond between them was strong; thus she was able to keep his energies intact until a way to reunite his body and soul could be found. Nightwolf transferred the bond from Kitana to himself and accepted the role as Liu Kang's new spiritual anchor."
After Shao Khan's unsuccessful invasion of Earthrealm, Kang returned to Wu Shi Academy for a time. Soon, some of his fellow White Lotus monks began disappearing; Kitana later appeared and told him that her warriors were disappearing. Concluding that either the Black Dragon or the Lin Kuei may be involved, Kitana and Kang split up to investigate.