by Jeff Cain
MMAWeekly SoundOff Forum’s ‘Sunday Night Conversation’ gives fans the opportunity to interact with some of the best Mixed Martial Artists in the game and have their specific questions answered. Chris ‘The Crippler’ Leben was the most recent participant in the ‘Sunday Night Conversation’ and discussed his fighting future, who he’d like to fight, Nate Quarry vs Rich Franklin, Diego Sanchez vs Nick Diaz, and much more.

Since his impressive submission victory over Edwin Dewees at UFC: ‘Ultimate Fight Night 2,’ Leben has relocated. He stated, “Well, I moved to Seattle and I’ve been training with Matt Hume out of AMC. Since I’ve been there, I’ve gotten some great training with guys like Josh Barnett, Niko Vitale, Akira Shoji, Mach Sakurai, Reese Andy and of course Matt himself. I love everybody at Team Quest, but working with Matt and seeing the game from a different angle has really been helping me improve as a fighter.”

With the move from Oregon to Washington, has Leben left Team Quest? He said, “No, I’m in Seattle now….training everyday at AMC. I love everybody at TQ and I think of them as friends. You don’t leave your friends because you move. But you do find other ones which is why I’m at AMC training with great people and getting great training.”

It looks like Leben will be back in action in January, but who would he like to fight? He commented, “Yes, it’s true that they’ve got plans for me fighting in January. Who I’m fighting, they haven’t said yet. Who would I like to fight? I think Baroni would be a good fight for me.”

Leben uses foot stomps often in his fights. One fan asked, “Are foot stomps primarily for hurting, distracting, or scoring points?” Leben answered, “All of the above. I’ve had my opponents after my fight show me their feet and how swollen and black they were, so I know they hurt. I’ve also used them to set up take downs. And lastly, it’s a great way to score points when your arms are busy pummeling.”

Chris Leben’s nickname seems to change with nearly every fight. Questioned about the nickname change, Chris said, “You know, as far as a nickname goes….I like the Crippler, I like the Catsmasher, I like Lights Out, you can call me Game Tight….your Baby’s Daddy…..it really doesn’t matter to me. I don’t pick my nicknames, people give them to me. And that’s the one that’s hot right now.”

Nate Quarry and Chris Leben are teammates, and they both were contestants on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season one. Quarry will be fighting Rich Franklin at UFC 56: ‘Full Force’ for the UFC middleweight title. Asked about the fight, Leben said, “As far as the fight with Rich and Nate goes, first off….I think Rich is a great fighter and a great guy. But I’m gonna have to pick Nate. Not just cuz he’s my boy, I think although Rich is a calculated fighter he makes some mistakes. He stands flat-footed. I think Nate’s got the tools to take him out on the feet, or the ground….and I just don’t see Rich being able to stay on top of Nate. If rich wins, it’s gonna have to be with a big shot.”

Would he be willing to fight his friend Nate Quarry? Leben said, “No, I wouldn’t be willing to fight Nate.”

“The Ultimate Fighter’ season one winner Diego Sanchez will be taking on Nick Diaz this weekend on ‘The Ultimate Fighter 2’ season finale. Questioned about the match up, Leben said, “I think that’ll be a great fight. Diaz obviously has the better hands, however, I know Sanchez is strong as hell. So it comes down to the slickness and skill of Diaz to Diego’s power and aggression. I’m keeping my money in my pocket on that one!”

Questioned if he’d ever consider dropping down to 170, Leben said, “Never. Never. Never.”

Another fight Leben would like in the future is a rematch with Joe Doerksen. He said, “I’d love a rematch with Joe Doerksen. I’m a completely different fighter than when I fought him originally, and I know I could of beat him then….Anytime a fighter loses, they want to avenge it and I would love for the UFC to grant me that opportunity.”

What aspects of his fight game does Chris feel needs improvement? He commented, “I feel that I can improve on everything. That’s what I love so much about this sport…no matter how much you train or how long you’ve been practicing, there’s always more to learn and improve on.”

Asked about his weight training, Chris responded, “As far as weights go….I don’t do the traditional bodybuilding type of weightlifting. I rarely lift more than my own body weight. And I focus more on endurance rather than power lifting.”

When he’s not preparing for a fight, Leben enjoys teaching. “I love teaching…in fact, I really miss it since I’ve stopped instructing classes at Team Quest. That’s why I started a new job as a personal trainer at 24 hour fitness in Everett, WA. And I’m teaching private lessons out of Arlington Kickboxing Academy. Teaching makes me feel warm inside.” Leben stated.

Fame has it’s perks and downfalls like anything else. ‘The Crippler’ was asked about people assuming his identity online. He said, “I’m so glad that I get to address this question. The other day my girlfriend noticed a Chris Leben account on MySpace that definitely wasn’t mine. And the lengths that this guy went to make it seem like it was me, creeped us out. Aside from the fact that he posted up all these pictures of me in the gallery and posted up my bio….the worst part was when he listed all these crappy bands as my favorite music. Like 30 seconds to mars. I hate them. That pissed me off. I never go on the Internet. But now I’m hearing that there’s actually quite a few fake profiles of me on the Internet. They’re not me!! And thanks so much for asking me this question. Those people need to be stopped….if I met them, I would tie them up and force-feed them a bag of raw shit.”

Not so much MMA related, but may be of interest to fans, Leben was asked what his favorite beer was. He replied, “There’s no way I could pick a favorite beer. There’s too many great ones out there to choose from. Drinking the same beer everyday would be like eating the same thing for dinner. I like to switch it up.”

‘The Crippler’ told his fans, “Fans can hit me up at contactchris@chrisleben.com. I’m gonna have a brand new website launching in about three weeks so be on the lookout for that.” To read all of what Chris Leben had to say click on the SoundOff Forum. Stay tuned for the next ‘Sunday Night Conversation.’