by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Since appearing in the first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality show, Chris ‘The Crippler’ Leben has been nothing short of impressive. He predictably made short work of Jason Thacker, won a split decision in a slug fest with Patrick Cote, and submitted Edwin Dewees by Arm Bar. In two weeks, on January 16th, Leben will face Jorge ‘El Conquistador’ Rivera live on Spike TV in a match that should keep the fans’ glued to their television sets and those in attendance on the edge of their seats. ‘The Crippler’ recently spoke with MMAWeekly Radio about his up coming match and what he expects against Jorge Rivera.

Jorge Rivera has a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) record of 12-4-0 with loses to: Brandon Lee Hinkle in Rivera’s MMA debut, Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, and Lee Murray. He holds wins over Travis Lutter, Mark Weir, Dennis Hallman, and David Loiseau. Questioned about Jorge Rivera, Leben said, “He’s a tough dude. I don’t think he’s as tough as me. He’s supposed to be decently rounded. I don’t know if I’ve seen too much from him on the ground. I think it’s a good fight for me. I’m excited to get in there and get another win.”

It’s no secret that Rivera’s stand up game is superior to his ground game. Leben noted it in his previous comments, but Leben isn’t a fighter who typically tries to take fights to the ground. Asked about his game plan going into this match, Leben answered, “I’ve been training so hard. I’ve been training in every realm of the game. You know? If he wants to stand with me, I’ll stand with him. I’m not going to try to take him down. If he wants to fight for a take down, fight for a clinch, I’ll clinch, I’ll take him down. If he takes me down, I’ll Arm Bar him. Where ever he wants the fight to go is where I’m going to beat him at.”

Leben has recently relocated from Oregon to Washington and his training has been split between Team Quest and working out at the American Martial Arts Center (AMC). Discussing his training, Leben said, “I’m up in Seattle training with Matt Hume, and he’s been busting my balls up here. I’ve been training with AMC, and I’m ready to go.”

Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture has moved to Vegas, Leben to Seattle, and many people are questioning what is going on at Team Quest? “I’m still with Team Quest man. It’s like I said, my girlfriend lives up here. I wanted to come up and train with Hume. I drive down there and spent a couple of days with those guys. I just moved. It’s not like, you don’t leave your friends because you moved to a different part of town. They’re still your friends. Team Quest is still going strong. Lindland’s there. We’ve got a bunch of new pro fighters; a whole new breed of people coming out of Team Quest. You’ll see guys hitting the UFC out of Team Quest in another year or so.”

Chris Leben’s ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season one housemate and Team Quest teammate, Nate ‘The Rock’ Quarry already received a title shot. How far does Leben think he’s away from getting a title match? He said, “I’d rather wait until my contract is up to renegotiate.”

Already three fights into his UFC contract, how many more does Leben have before he renegotiates? “Six…It was a nine fight contract man…I tell you what, I ain’t getting rich right now.” Leben told MMAWeekly.

Leben was asked, “What’s going to happen on January 16th?” He replied, “January 16th, I want to quick. Where ever it is, I’m just going to bring so much pressure. I’m going to bring so much heat. I’m going to press the pace so hard he’s going to crumble. He’s not going to have felt anything like the way I fight; the aggression I fight with. And like I said, I’m bigger, I’m stronger, I’m in better shape, I’m sharper than I’ve ever been. I just wan to show total domination.”