September 18, 2007

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
With the Ultimate Fighter Season 6 set to debut this Wednesday on Spike TV, one of the show’s most famous cast-mates looks to rebound from back-to-back losses as Chris “The Crippler” Leben faces Chicago native Terry Martin at UFC Fight Night.

The former Team Quest member comes into the fight knowing that a third loss in a row could be devastating to his career, but he sounds confident heading into the bout.

“I’ve been out in Hawaii and the last eight weeks have been nothing but daily doubles; just eating, sleeping, and training getting ready for this fight,” said Leben.

Speaking of Hawaii, Leben recently relocated to the Aloha State full time to be the head trainer at the Icon gym. Teaching is something he embraces.

“The gym’s great. Everyone there is great. We’ve got a bunch of students and a bunch of young guys who are excited, so I love it out there,” Leben stated about his new home.

“I coached for years at (Team) Quest and I’ve been teaching and coaching for quite a long time. Actually, I got away from it for a while and it was something that I really, really missed. Believe it or not, it’s kind of a rewarding feeling seeing people lose weight. They get motivated. They start feeling better about themselves. You know, young guys are fighting in the ring, not in the street, so I love it.”

Coming off of two tough losses, Leben is still under contract with the UFC until at least April 2008 and from his words, it sounds like he’d like to stay there longer.

“After this fight, I’ll have to sort of analyze things and see where we’re at, see what they want because, ultimately, it’s their decision,” said Leben about the UFC. “Hopefully, I’ll go out and have a great showing in this fight and they’ll want me back.”

The former Ultimate Fighter was also recently embroiled in some controversy when another member from his season, Mike Swick, called Leben out after a rematch between the two was rumored, but then fell apart.

Swick lost to Leben in World Extreme Cagefighting in 2004. Ever since that time, fans have clamored for a second bout. Leben seemed uninterested in Swick’s verbal jabs in which he called him out for backing out of a fight that was proposed at 170lbs.

“Interesting guy,” said Leben about former roommate Mike Swick. “I’ve heard people say I’m ducking him, this or that, but that’s just really not the case. The case is that I was kicking around going down to 70 (170lbs) and after talking to my coaches and stuff, they just realized that I’m too big of a guy to make that cut.”

Leben’s next opponent, Terry Martin, has also been very vocal about their upcoming bout.

“I don’t care, it doesn’t matter to me,” says Leben about Martin’s recent comments. “I’m concerned about the fight. I’m concerned about the style, the match-up. I’m really not concerned with what he has to say. He keeps reminding everyone that he’s a D-1 wrestler and he can punch hard and stuff. I can see that that’s important to him; that he has to keep reminding himself that he’s a tough guy. I know I’m a tough guy, so I don’t need to tell everyone and talk all the smack to everybody all the time and keep reassuring myself. It’s kind of like loud bark, small bite.”

In the end, it’s Chris Leben who ultimately feels like he is in the best position to win this fight and put an end to Terry Martin’s rants.

“I’ve worked so hard, I’m in such great shape right now. I can fight him in every aspect. A lot of guys say they want to stand with me, they tell themselves that, then as soon as they get in the ring they change their minds real quick.”

“If he wants to go to the ground, I’ve just been grappling like crazy, rolling with a bunch of black belts and D-1 wrestlers, as well. This fight in particular, I just feel like it’s a terrible match-up for him because I think I’m a better fighter in every aspect than him and if he wants to stand in front of me and slug, we know how that usually works out. You can ask Mike Swick about that one.”

Chris Leben will face Terry Martin on Sept. 19 at UFC Fight Night.