This time approximately two years ago, Chris Leben needed less than 30 seconds to crush Wanderlei Silva and rebound pretty convincingly from the stoppage loss he suffered versus Brian Stann a few months earlier. After KOíng “The Axe Murderer”, Leben had gone 4-1 in his last five fights and remained a considerable force in the middleweight division. Since then, Leben has struggled, and has dropped back-to-back bouts to Mark Munoz and Derek Brunson.
In a recent interview with the Underground’s Jack Brown, Leben discussed the changes he’s made in his life, which include moving to San Diego to train with the famed Alliance MMA team. At UFC 162 Leben will take on Andrew Craig, and according to “The Crippler”, the middleweight will fight a new and improved fighter. After acknowledging that he would still like to rematch his long time rival Josh Koscheck, and the fact that the number of TUF 1 vets still competing is dropping, Leben relayed to the UG:
Yes, absolutely I would take a catchweight fight with 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.
As for the last of us to retire, I’m not sure, but truthfully, I hope it’s not me. 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. LOL.
The only man to defeat Craig in 9 pro bouts to date is Ronny Markes, who handed him a unanimous decision loss at UFC on FX 7 in January.
UFC 162 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.