CHRIS LEBEN vs. ANDERSON SILVA
UFC Fight Night 5, 6/28/06
Result: Silva wins via first-round knockout
On his infamous pre-fight promo (see above): “Here’s the deal: When you sit down with the UFC and give them a pre-fight interview, what are you supposed to say? I’m not going to say they tell you what to say [during the interviews], but it’s certainly coached, and they want you to be a tough guy. So I couldn’t say, ‘Hey I didn’t want to take this fight, I didn’t think I was ready for it, but I’m taking it anyway because the UFC told me I had to.’
I asked not to take the fight. I thought it was a bad idea, plain and simple. My coach at the time said, ‘You know, Chris, I’d have you fight anybody in the UFC right now except for this fight. I don’t think you should take it for your style and the matchup.’ I believe that I’m a different fighter now, and I’d love to have a chance to fight Anderson Silva five years later, because I’ve grown substantially as a martial artist.
I truly believe that everything more or less happens for a reason, and I wasn’t ready at that time. I was not ready to be world champion, I was not ready to carry that burden outside of the cage. My skills were not where they needed to be. Since then, my career’s allowed me to grow, it’s allowed me to move to Hawaii, and a lot of things have happened to me that would not have happened if things would have worked out differently. Who knows, I probably would have been a champion then lost two fights in a row and gotten kicked out of the UFC. But I’ve managed to hang around for another five years.”
CHRIS LEBEN vs. TERRY MARTIN
UFC Fight Night 11, 9/19/07
Result: Leben wins via third-round knockout
“I definitely react a little different than other people when I get hit. I know I’m tough and I know what I do. Obviously at that point there’s not a lot of calibrated thinking going on. A lot of that is just who you are as a person, your personality, everything that has made you who into you are at that moment, and how you’re going to react in the cage. In my case it’s worked for the better sometimes, and at other times — I’ve always said it myself — it’s worked for the worse.”
CHRIS LEBEN vs. MICHAEL BISPING
UFC 89, 10/18/08
Result: Bisping wins via unanimous decision
On the probation violation that delayed the fight, and the failed drug test that came after: ”You’re fucking killing me man. Why don’t we talk about my next fight? I don’t dig this shit. That was so many years ago, and people continue to want to ask me about this. I fucked up, I made a mistake, I’m sorry, fucking bury it. Thank you. There’s a lot of personal decisions that have happened in my life, and it can be tough sometimes because that’s what everybody wants to talk about. Going to jail was not a fun thing, and it’s not really something I want to talk about in an interview I’m doing to promote myself. It’s alright. It’s alright. I didn’t mean to snap at you, I’m sorry.”
On the next page: Smashing a hero and facing the future.