After UFC president Dana White completely buried Uriah Hall following his decision loss to John Howard in August, it was unclear if the TUF 17 finalist would be getting another shot in the Octagon. It turns out that he will — against another guy who’s one loss away from getting cut.
The UFC announced today that Hall will return at UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2 (December 28th, Las Vegas) against eight-year UFC veteran Chris Leben, who has lost his last three outings, and hasn’t won a fight since his KO of Wanderlei Silva in July 2011. Leben is coming off a dull decision loss against Andrew Craig, which followed his dull decision loss against Derek Brunson. Any other fighter with the same run of failures both inside and outside the cage would have probably been cut by now. But Dana White has an almost inexplicable fondness for Leben, looking upon him like a wayward child.
“I’ve got to figure out what I think will be best for him,” White said following Leben’s loss to Craig. “I want Leben to get up everyday and be part of society and have to do something, whether it’s training or training other people, no matter what is. Chris Leben has the type of personality that can go off the deep very easily in a lot of negative ways. I really care about the kid. I like him a lot. I love him. So I’ve got to figure this thing out.”
And so, the decision has been made — one more fight for the Cat Smasher, who has earned the right to go out on his shield, and should maybe consider retiring directly after the fight if it doesn’t go his way. Any predictions?
In a related story, a featherweight bout between Dustin Poirier and TUF 14 winner Diego Brandao has also been added to UFC 168. Porier recently bounced back to the win column with an entertaining decision win against Erik Koch at UFC 164, while Brandao is riding a three-fight win streak, most recently earning a decision win against Daniel Pineda at UFC Fight Night 26.