UFC middleweight Chris Leben is the last of a dying breed. With retirements from Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar, and Forrest Griffin, only a handful of competitors from the groundbreaking first season of the Ultimate Fighter are left on the company’s roster or in the sport at all for that matter. Though “The Crippler” has some gas left in the tank at 32 years old, losses in three of his last four fights has many fans wondering when Leben will decide to follow suit and focus on teaching in Hawaii.
Leben addressed the issue in a recent interview with MixedMartialArts.com where he admitted he wasn’t looking to hold on so long he’d be plucking gray hairs from his trademark pink fuzz.
“As for the last of us to retire, I’m not sure, but truthfully, I hope it’s not me,” he confessed. “I feel I’m at the top of my game right now. My technique and body feel better than they ever have. I would like to compete a few more years and see just how far I can go with my new sobriety and dedication to growing as a martial artist. Then, I’m out. I’m not trying to be a Randy Couture or Dan Henderson, fighting when I got grandkids.”
Regarding his original cast-mates, Leben pointed to a little unfinished business he’d like to settle if given his choice of opponents.
“Absolutely I would take a catchweight fight with Josh Koscheck. It would stop everybody that has been saying to me every day since the show came out, ‘When are you going to get a rematch with Koscheck? I hate him! I wish you would beat his ass!’ That alone would make it worth it,” said the cement-fisted slugger.
Leben and Koscheck crossed paths a couple of times on TUF 1, as the two tussled in a clash seeing “Kos” win a decision but more memorably got into an alcohol-infused confrontation inside the house seen as one of the season’s highlights (or lowlights depending on your perspective).
More immediately, the 22-9 Leben is scheduled to face Andrew Craig next weekend at UFC 162. If victorious, the performance will mark Leben’s first win since a 2011 knockout of Wanderlei Silva coming nearly two years to the day.