Chris Leben is itching to get back in the Octagon. The season-one Ultimate Fighter cast member is coming off a loss to Brian Stann at UFC 125: Resolution in January and has since been without a fight to look forward to.
While in limbo, Leben is patiently awaiting a call from the UFC offering up his next foe within the eight-sided chained fence. In doing so, he can only sit and consider who he would like face. For Leben, that desired fight is MMA superstar Wanderlei Silva.
A match-up with the former Pride 205-pound champion is the most attractive contest to Leben at the moment. His manager, Gary Ibarra, explained that his client is more than willing to take on the task of fighting a legend of the sport.
“Chris is eager to fight again after his loss to Brian Stann,” Ibarra told MMAWeekly.com. “(He) would like to reiterate his desire to compete against a legend of the sport and personal hero of his in Wanderlei Silva.”
Although a bout with Silva is the match-up Leben wants most, he understands that the matchmaking is not up to him or anyone in his camp. Ibarra added that they have all the confidence in the world in Joe Silva’s matchmaking abilities, and if not Wanderlei Silva, then the UFC will pit him against someone that will allow he and Leben entertain the MMA faithful all around.
“We have no doubt they will determine the proper match-up so Chris can once again do what he does best, and that’s put on a great show for MMA fans everywhere,” Ibarra said.
Leben most recently took on Stann and fell to the former United States Marine in the first round of their fight via TKO. The loss stopped a three-fight win streak, which included an epic war against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin last July. The fight went through three rounds of back and forth action before Leben was able to lock in a triangle choke late in final five-minute set. The bout earned Leben and Akiyama “Fight of the Night” honors.
Easily regarded as one of the most popular fighters in the history of the sport, Silva has not fought since making his middleweight debut against Michael Bisping in February of 2010 at UFC 110: Nogueira vs. Velasquez. He was scheduled to face Akiyama at UFC 116, but broken ribs forced him out of the fight, and Leben stepped in as his replacement. After defeating Akiyama, Leben openly called out Silva in effort to bring the fight to fruition, but no plans to actually make it happen have surfaced.
Since both fighters are without an opponent for their next fight, a Silva-Leben match-up makes sense, but it is all in the hands of UFC brass.
MMAWeekly.com will continue to follow up on the next fight for both fighters, so stay tuned to the site for the latest in MMA news.
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