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Thread: UFC stands by UFC 155s Chris Leben through thick and thin

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  1. Default UFC stands by UFC 155s Chris Leben through thick and thin

    USA TODAY: UFC stands by UFC 155's Leben through thick and thin | News

    The moment he took the pills, Chris Leben knew he'd get caught. He knew it was a mistake, like he knew he'd be drug-tested before his middleweight fight against Mark Munoz in UFC 138, like he knew the Oxycontin he popped wouldn't be out of his system by then.

    And still, Leben told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps), "I did it anyway. I was sick."
    For Leben, 32, the sickness didn't develop overnight or over the course of a training camp. It had been years in the making, a slow battle fight fans have watched from a distance since he made his debut on the first season of the UFC's long-running reality show, "The Ultimate Fighter."

    Back then, Leben was the hard-drinking brawler who got by on guts and raw emotion as much as skill. It made him an early fan favorite, but it wasn't something he could turn off once he stepped out of the cage.

    Leben's UFC career has been marred with arrests for driving under the influence and suspensions for steroids and prescription painkillers. Through it all, the UFC has stuck with him even while other fighters have been given their walking papers for far less egregious offenses.

    Now, after a year suspension following a positive test for Oxycontin in November 2011, Leben (22-8 MMA, 12-7 UFC) returns Saturday against Derek Brunson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in UFC 155 (pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET).

    For Leben, the fight comes with more nerves than usual after a long layoff and tumultuous year. At the same time, he says, "I want to remind everybody who I am and what kind of force I am inside the octagon."

    One man who needs no reminder is UFC President Dana White, who says he has kept Leben around through his substance abuse struggles because "he's a guy I like and respect."

    "He's had personal problems for a long time that he's had to deal with, but I don't consider this a second or third chance or anything like that," White said in an e-mail. "He's always exciting, and people like watching him fight, including me."
    Maybe that's why, instead of firing Leben after his latest failed drug test, the UFC paid to send him to a 30-day rehab program.

    Leben followed that with regular outpatient counseling sessions, he says, where he's learning to deal with life on life's terms.

    "It's a one-day-at-a-time sort of thing," Leben says. "It doesn't matter how far down the road you are, we're all the same distance from the ditch. I know what happens in my life when I drink. I know how fast things destruct for me."
    The cravings for alcohol and drugs? Those are still there, Leben says. He was using painkillers for physical and emotional pain, and "looking back, my intake really reflected how well I was doing in my personal life."

    These days he's sober, but he also has to adjust his approach to the sport.

    That reckless audacity he has always fought with came from a dark place inside, but so did the substance abuse problems that came with it.

    "When I first started this sport, my motivation was proving that I was tough and I was worth something," Leben says.
    Now the fight has changed. This time it's not one he can afford to lose.
    There are many paths to freedom....not all are peaceful.


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    War crippler.

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    looking forward to saturday

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    When Leben is on and straight, he's one of the baddest motherfuckers on the planet and can push ANY MW to the limit.

    People often overlook his technical prowess due to his astounding hands and chin, but his overall game is tight as all hell and the glimpses we've seen of him when he's 100% committed and invested, are extremely impressive.

    I genuinely pull for Chris because I think that when he's got his shit straight, he's a GREAT fighter. I've also been hearing talk about him being in such great shape that he wants to take a look at WW.

    All the power to him and I hope he can stay clean. I'd love for his story to have a happy ending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedorlei Gomipierre View Post
    When Leben is on and straight, he's one of the baddest motherfuckers on the planet and can push ANY MW to the limit.

    People often overlook his technical prowess due to his astounding hands and chin, but his overall game is tight as all hell and the glimpses we've seen of him when he's 100% committed and invested, are extremely impressive.
    Dont know about that

    Leban's less used skills, His wrestling and ground game are often overlooked... But his bread and butter, his go to, his striking is there to be exploited by several fighters at MW...

    He has the tendency to fight sloppy, leaving open all sorts of openings for his opponents... He does rely on his chin and power a lot imo... Not that it is a bad thing, he isnt the only fighter out there to do that...

    Put him against someone like Anderson or Vitor he gets absolutely shut down and KTFO... Look at how handily Stann put him out... And we all saw how easily Bisping outpointed him.

    I personally think guys like Rockhold, Belcher, Okami, Lombard would easily beat Leban in the standup department... And could exploit him in other areas as well... Also wouldnt be shocked to see Weidman, Franklin, Le, Cote(I had him winning their fight) or even Maia outpoint him standing... Even Akiyama was taking it to Chris standing.

    If Hendo, Mousasi, or Marquardt ever decide to go back to MW, they are locks over Leban as well imo...

    Chris isnt given a lot of credit for his Wrestling and BJJ, but they arent overwhelming either... A good wrestler will get him down, and he can be submitted as well...

    Even in his strength... the standup... I have a list of guys that id easily favor over him... You can never count him out... His power, chin, experience, craftiness, etc... but I dont know about him being able to "hang" with everybody at his best... We have seen him get absolutely tooled when he faced some better competition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rampage9712 View Post
    Dont know about that

    Leban's less used skills, His wrestling and ground game are often overlooked... But his bread and butter, his go to, his striking is there to be exploited by several fighters at MW...

    He has the tendency to fight sloppy, leaving open all sorts of openings for his opponents... He does rely on his chin and power a lot imo... Not that it is a bad thing, he isnt the only fighter out there to do that...

    Put him against someone like Anderson or Vitor he gets absolutely shut down and KTFO... Look at how handily Stann put him out... And we all saw how easily Bisping outpointed him.

    I personally think guys like Rockhold, Belcher, Okami, Lombard would easily beat Leban in the standup department... And could exploit him in other areas as well... Also wouldnt be shocked to see Weidman, Franklin, Le, Cote(I had him winning their fight) or even Maia outpoint him standing... Even Akiyama was taking it to Chris standing.

    If Hendo, Mousasi, or Marquardt ever decide to go back to MW, they are locks over Leban as well imo...

    Chris isnt given a lot of credit for his Wrestling and BJJ, but they arent overwhelming either... A good wrestler will get him down, and he can be submitted as well...

    Even in his strength... the standup... I have a list of guys that id easily favor over him... You can never count him out... His power, chin, experience, craftiness, etc... but I dont know about him being able to "hang" with everybody at his best... We have seen him get absolutely tooled when he faced some better competition.
    I appreciate where you're coming from here, but think what you might be overlooking is that in alot of those examples of Chris in the past, he simply hasn't been clean.

    For example, in the Stann and Bisping bouts, Leban was fighting messed up. Actually, going into the Stann fight, he'd just smashed his car up and was going through alot of stuff(think he was popped for a DUI) and there's all that footage of him puking in his driveway. Stuff like that always comes out of Leben's camp's before fights when he's messed and alot of the time, the oddsmakers will echo Leben's outside the cage problems, such as the Rosholt fight, were everyone was like "Leben's got this in the bag" and then he comes out looking like shit. When you look at the line before the fight, it was weird that Rosholt wasn't a bigger underdog, until you dig deeper and start hearing the gossip about why the line was what it was.

    I think the Aaron Simpson fight is a perfect example of how Leben should look when he's on the up and up and for me, his last four losses all possess some tinge of "off the field" demons.

    When he's clean, which is a risk you run with Chris, but WHEN/IF he maintains sobriety, I think he has alot of skill to go far. It is hard to make an accurate judgement on his skillset due to him not coming into fights, such as the Munoz bout, in horrid shape. But at his peak, IMO he's a stellar, periphery ten MW. That said, I think the Simpson bout is a good gauge of what a "ready to go" Leben looks like and from what I've been hearing, this camp going into tomorrow's fight has been his best, he's supposedly clean and has gotten into great shape/living healthy.

    I'm not saying he could BEAT Anderson or Vitor, but when on, I think he's a helluva tough out.

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    It was the candy.

    If you watch the Bisping fight(just an example) Watch both of their others fights... He had no answer for Mike... I dont see anything to show that he can hang with Mike... other than the obvious big power meets suspect chin...

    Stann is another one... Brain is a technically superior striker... He started out as a Brawler like Leban, only he hits even harder imo... but has really refined his striking, he has some good go to combinations... nice leg kicks, sets up his power shots well. Has a great chin and huge power. I dont see much Leban would be able to get done against him...

    Even if Stann's weakness is his wrestling... guys like Chael, Davis, and even Bisping are FAR better wrestlers than Chris...

    I like Chris, he brings a lot of excitement and aggression to his fights... He always goes for the finish... He has a great ability to finish, even more so than a lot of the higher ranked guys...

    He is almost like a Nelson, where he finishes the lesser opponents impressively, but struggles against better competition... to a further extent though, as I have Nelson higher at HW, than Chris at MW...

    Im glad the UFC has fighters like Chris, someone who tries to entertain... he deserves a lot of credit... but lets not give him too much credit... at other, more deserving fighters expense...

    Id also have Rockhold and Jacare as locks over him as well, although Id love to see those fights, as Chris is never an easy out and would be a good test for them, once they come to the UFC.

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    It will be rough for him but he made a smart move by staying out of Vegas. I wounder how it will effect his game.

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    I am absolutely certain that an on point clean and focused Chris could take out vitor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by disposableassassin View Post
    I am absolutely certain that an on point clean and focused Chris could take out vitor.
    I thought I told you to put that shit down...

    I need to send you and RD both to rehab ASAP.

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