"You win two, you should be fighting for the title," Leben told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "You lose two, you're washed up. It's kind of how we are in this sport. It is what it is."
Because hey, Leben's fighting for a living. It always could be worse, right?
And his recent move from running his own gym in Hawaii to Alliance MMA in San Diego appears to already be paying training dividends, and he believes he'll be cashing those in at a bigger level on Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
"My job beats sitting at a desk or hanging roofing, so I can't complain," he said. "I'm ready to go. I'm relocated in San Diego training with Alliance – and such an awesome change in pace for me with some great coaches out there and tough guys pushing me, inspiring me, motivating me.
"With everything else that's gone on in my life with my sobriety and getting control of that, I have a new hot fire to get in there and compete."
Those personal changes have been big for Leben, who says he has battled through his drug and alcohol use. Newly sober, Leben appears to be more motivated than ever.
"I'm fired up. I'm real fired up," he said. "Camp was better than ever, weight's better than ever, training's been better than ever. Every time you go to a fight, you say you're in the best shape of your life. But this time, physically and mentally, I'm in the right spot. The work is done before the fight. Every fight is won or lost before you ever step in the cage."