by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
Chris ‘The Crippler’ Leben is an experienced fighter who has high hopes of wearing a UFC middleweight belt on his waist in the not-so-distant future. Leben is as confident a fighter as they come and he believes that anyone who tries to stand with him is in for a rude awakening – that is when that man wakes up gazing at the lights that hang above the UFC’s Octagon.
Leben has many impressive wins in the UFC over such fighters as: Jorge Rivera, Edwin Dewees, Patrick Cote, Jorge Santiago and Luigi Fioravanti, with his only loss coming from the hands – and knees ¬– of current UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Leben has wins by KO and submission, thus proving his well roundedness, but don’t be confused, Leben loves the KO.
Chris said, “I’m here to knock people out and put on a show for the crowd.”
Traditionally Leben has trained with Team Quest in Portland, Oregon, but has since added Matt Hume’s Seattle-based school to his resume. Leben now splits his time between the two camps, but feels a part of both of them.
Leben said, “I’m training up at Team Quest, but I’m going up to AMC to train with Matt Hume…I kind of split my time, I go back and forth and it works out well for me.”
Coming up at UFC 66 on December 30, Leben knows that he is facing a tough challenge in Canadian fighter Jason MacDonald, but he feels more than up to the task at hand. Jason is known for having slick submission skills – like the ones he showed against Ed Herman –but Leben contests that even submission wise he thinks he’s at the top of the UFC food chain.
Leben said, “I’m not afraid of anybody on the ground in the UFC at all. I think my ground game is probably better than his to be honest with you. If he takes me to the ground and he manages to get me down, then I’ll submit him –you know, I’ll take a win however I have to – but I’m not going to go out looking for a submission when I can knock him out.”
Chris also commented on his feelings about redeeming his Team Quest teammate, training partner and long-time friend Ed Herman’s most recent loss to MacDonald. Leben said, “Yeah, I want to get out there and beat him up.”
During his conversation with MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio crew, Leben also discussed his thoughts about a rematch with Anderson Silva and spoke about whom he’d like to fight next if he gets past MacDonald at UFC 66.
“I think about my fight with him [Anderson Silva] every day. I think about what I’m going to do different next time, but as far as fighting him goes, you know, I wouldn’t mind – to be honest with you – waiting another year,” Leben said.
Chris continued, “He beat me once fair and square and now I’ll let him go out and kick some more ass for another year and then I beat a few more guys and I step back in with him after a year – then I’ll beat him up and take his title.”
Leben also spoke about the chances of seeing him in the ring with long-time rival Mike Swick anytime in the near future. Leben didn’t cross any words here. Chris said, “If he [Swick] wants to get knocked out again that’s fine, but my personal opinion is that we can talk about it – I was going to take the fight once already, but apparently his hand got broken or something, but he couldn’t take the fight – but I don’t know if he or the UFC want him to get knocked out. I wouldn’t say that it’s a smart idea for them since he might be getting groomed a little bit to get a title shot in the near future.”
With the hype around Leben’s upcoming fight growing, and the reality of his heavy-handed striking; fans can almost be assured that they’ll see an entertaining fight on December 30. Leben has a solid record put together with a good number of wins mixed with only a couple of losses, but with his bad-boy persona and his red Mohawk, win or lose, when Chris Leben fights – love him or hate him – it’s entertaining.