by Damon Martin
A fighter who was arguably the most popular personality during the first season of the “Ultimate Fighter,” Team Quest member, Chris Leben had possibly the toughest test of any of the season 1 veterans when he took on Canadian and TKO stand-out, Patrick “The Predator” Cote. Leben had no easy task when he took on the man that just months prior while fighting in the light heavyweight division dropped Tito Ortiz in their fight and was thought to be one of the best strikers in the middleweight division.

Chris Leben has always had solid hands and from all accounts, he had an unbelievable chin and he did take some serious shots from Cote in their battle. Despite most fans and critics thinking that this would end up being a single round slugfest until only one man was left standing, Leben played a much smarter game working the clinch and going for a few takedowns.

Cote played the counter puncher for the better part of all three rounds and he did land some very good shots, but none of them seem to stop Leben from coming forward and getting inside of his punches. Cote seemed somewhat lacking from being able to unleash any kind of barrage that could have potentially stopped Leben’s offense. Leben instead controlled the pace and fought his way to a very tough split decision victory.

The UFC has a lot riding on Chris Leben mainly because he has the personality that fans clamor to see and has instant fame based on his appearance on the “Ultimate Fighter” reality show. Leben has a great team behind him training with Team Quest out of Oregon and as announced during the broadcast, has given up drinking and partying to truly focus on his training and his future with the UFC.

Leben was one of the favorites before the “Ultimate Fighter” show started, but fell on bad luck losing a tough decision to Josh Koscheck and then falling victim to a vicious cut that was opened in his fight with Kenny Florian in the show’s semi-finals. Leben has since returned to defeat Canadian and urine victim, Jason Thacker and now a very big win over Patrick Cote during “Ultimate Fight Night.”

The future is very bright for Leben as he has the skill to back up a mouth that was omnipresent during the filming of the show. It will be interesting whether or not the UFC will feed Leben a lesser opponent now that he’s defeated a UFC veteran or will he start his climb towards the top of the ranks of the middleweight division? Leben is entering possibly the toughest division in all of the UFC, anchored by current champion, Rich Franklin. There’s plenty of competition for Leben to step to, and he is sure to continue on his quest to prove he deserves to be among the very best in the world.