UFC middleweight Chris Leben made a disappointing return to action after more than a year off due to a drug related suspension, falling on the scorecards to Derek Brunson last December. Fortunately, the fan-favorite predicts a much more familiar sight the next time he’s seen inside the Octagon. Specifically, one featuring “The Crippler” engaged in a brawl aimed at bringing the crowd to their feet.
Leben was on Inside MMA this week where he revealed the UFC has approached him about his next fight and, without naming names, he made it clear the clash was against an adversary who shares his love of stand-up.
“That’s the one thing I wanted more than anything, especially after my last fight,” said Leben. “I believe that not only am I a martial artist and an athlete but we’re entertainers in this sport. Our fans pay good money for those PPVs and those seats. And a lot of the guys these days, they’re fighting to not lose instead of fighting to win and beat their opponent.”
“So that was one of the things with my next fight. I said, ‘Give me something I can put a show on with,’” Leben concluded.
As far as when the fight will actually occur, Leben regretfully said it would be a bit longer than he preferred, pointing to UFC 162 as the likely landing spot for his yet-to-be-announced scrap.
“It looks like they’ve got an opponent – somebody that’s stepping up and wants to take a fight with me,” explained Leben. “But with all these guys they’ve got now it’s not like the old days when I could just get a fight whenever I want. So they’re gonna make me wait a little bit…it might not be until the beginning of July.”
The 22-9 Leben has seventeen stoppages to his credit including finishes of Jorge Santiago, Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Wanderlei Silva. Twenty of his tilts have come in the UFC’s infamous eight-sided cage, making Leben one of the company’s longest-tenured fighters.
The full interview with Leben can be seen below:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC