|Born||Christian Cyrus Leben
July 21, 1980
Portland, Oregon, United States
|Other names||The Crippler|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)|
|Division||Middleweight (185 lb)|
|Reach||70.5 in (179 cm)|
|Style||Boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Wrestling|
|Fighting out of||Chula Vista, California|
Icon Fitness MMA (formerly)
Team Quest (formerly)
|Rank||blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Sidney Silva|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Website||Chris Leben on Facebook|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Christian Cyrus Leben (born July 21, 1980) is a retired American mixed martial artist who fought for the UFC as a Middleweight, compiling a record of 12-10 in 22 appearances for the organization. Leben first appeared in the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, and has also fought in the now-defunct WEC. He began his UFC career with five victories in a row before suffering a knockout loss to former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Leben was the first WEC Middleweight Champion.
Leben is from Portland, Oregon and has one older brother and one younger sister. He grew up without his father around, and he did not even meet his father until he was 23 years old. Because of this, Leben's mother worked hard for many hours daily as a bartender so that she could support the family. Growing up Leben enjoyed skateboarding, dirt biking, and snowboarding. When he was in middle school, he began watching the UFC and became very interested in MMA. He began training in boxing, and then was on the wrestling team at Benson Polytechnic High School, picking up the sport rather quickly. Leben did not receive a very good education in his childhood, and did not know how to read or write even after graduating high school. Leben soon joined the United States Army, falsely being told by the recruiter that he would be allowed to wrestle for the army's team. When he found that he would not be allowed to wrestle for the army, Leben went AWOL and was discharged.
Mixed martial arts
While visiting his brother at work one day, Leben noticed a MMA gym located across the street, home to Team Quest. Trainer Robert Follis accepted Leben into the team, and soon Leben was training with Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, Nate Quarry, and Ed Herman. After refining his talent, Leben began fighting as an amateur, achieving a record of 5–0, and capturing the FCFF and UFCF middleweight titles.
After his success in the amateur ranks, Leben turned professional. He won his first five fights, three of them by knockout, and in the process won the Gladiator Challenge, Sportfight, and WEC Middleweight titles. Leben achieved wins against Benji Radach and Mike Swick, but suffered a decision loss to Joe Doerksen.
The Ultimate Fighter
Leben was one of the most controversial and outspoken fighters on The Ultimate Fighter 1 due to his variously abrasive and melancholy personality. In the first episode, while intoxicated, he urinated on future teammate Jason Thacker's bed, and stole his pillow. One night when everyone in the household was drinking, Bobby Southworth called Leben a "fatherless bastard" on account of Leben's father being absent during his childhood, requiring Leben being physically restrained from accosting Southworth. Leben then began sobbing and proceeded to sleep outside. After a heated confrontation precipitated by Josh Koscheck and Southworth spraying a sleeping Leben with a hose, Leben broke a door with his fist. After the confrontation, UFC president Dana White set up a match between Leben and Koscheck, which Leben lost by unanimous decision due to Koscheck's ability to score points by controlling Leben on the ground.
Later in the show, teammate Nate Quarry was eliminated from the competition due to an ankle injury and was able to choose a previously eliminated fighter to replace him. He chose Leben, who was later defeated by Kenny Florian due to doctor stoppage in the first semi-final match after Florian opened a cut above Leben's eye with an elbow strike. His losses on the show are not on his professional record, as the fights were classified by Nevada as exhibition bouts due to the decisions of the bouts not being disclosed until the fights aired on the show rather than being posted immediately following the fights.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
On April 9, 2005, Leben fought Jason Thacker on the undercard of the live finale of The Ultimate Fighter 1. Thacker was not amused when he watched the show and found out Leben had used his bed as a urinal. Speaking with Dana White, Thacker demanded a match against Leben at the finale. The match was set up, and Leben won 95 seconds into the first round after referee stoppage due to strikes. Afterward, Leben apologized to Thacker for urinating on his bed, saying he had since given up drinking because of that sort of incident.
After the show, Leben moved to Seattle, Washington to train with AMC Pankration. He has competed in several UFC events since the show and is the only person to have fought in the first six Ultimate Fight Night events, during which he earned a string of victories: a split decision win over future TUF 4 finalist Patrick Côté, an armbar submission against Edwin Dewees, a first-round TKO over Jorge Rivera, and a unanimous decision over Luigi Fioravanti. Leben was defeated by Anderson Silva at UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5 on June 28, 2006, by KO 49 seconds into the first round, but returned at UFC Fight Night 6 on August 17, 2006, where he defeated Jorge Santiago by knockout 35 seconds into the second round. He is the only fighter to fight at every event under the "Fight Night" banner.
It was reported that Leben was offered a main event fight against Mike Swick at UFC Fight Night 11, but turned down the fight for unknown reasons; it was later revealed on the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 reunion show by UFC President Dana White's call to matchmaker Joe Silva that Leben's camp turned down the fight and that Leben himself had no prior knowledge of the fight offer. Leben instead took on Terry Martin on the same UFC Fight Night 11 card. Even after being rocked with multiple punches by Martin, a half-dazed Leben defeated Martin by knockout at 3:56 of the third round.
On April 30, 2008, Leben was arrested in Oregon by Clackamas County Sheriffs for a DUI stemming from an earlier date. He was kept in jail and temporarily held without bond for allegedly violating his probation. Leben was then sentenced to 35 days in jail.
His next fight was against Michael Bisping at UFC 89, which he lost by a unanimous decision after a full three rounds. Leben taunted Bisping throughout the last two rounds by dropping his arms and raising his chin. The judges scored the fight 30–27 (twice) and 29–28 for Bisping. Bisping used effective counter punching in the fight to keep the aggressive Leben at bay. Both fighters showed sportsmanship by congratulating one another and raising each other's arm after the fight. After the fight with Bisping, Leben tested positive for Stanozolol and was suspended for nine months and fined a third of his fight purse. He was eligible to return in July 2009. Leben admitted he had used the substance several months prior to the fight, but stated he had assumed it would have been out of his system by then.
Leben was expected to face Aaron Simpson at UFC 114, but the bout took place on June 19, 2010, at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz Finale. After a rough first round where Simpson slammed Leben a couple of times, Leben eventually connected consecutive punches on Simpson in the second that sent him stumbling across the octagon, collapsing face first at the other side of the octagon, prompting referee Josh Rosenthal to end the fight via TKO at 4:17 of the second round.
After Wanderlei Silva was forced out of his UFC 116 bout with Yoshihiro Akiyama due to broken ribs, Leben agreed to fill in for Silva in the bout against Akiyama, and faced him two weeks after defeating Simpson. Although he was outstruck and outwrestled for most of the first round, Leben managed to stay competitive and keep a fast paced fight with the rapidly tiring Akiyama in the second round. In the third and final round, Leben capitalized and sunk in a triangle choke with just twenty seconds left in the fight, forcing Akiyama to submit. It was considered the best performance of Leben's career and one of the best fights of the year. After the fight, Leben called for a fight with Silva, saying "come on Wanderlei, I'll take you out, too!", though UFC president Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that a Leben-Silva affair is not under consideration. Leben won Sherdog.com's Comeback Fighter of the Year for 2010.
On October 20, 2010, Leben was arrested in Honolulu, Hawaii for suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing his truck into a wall off of Kapiolani Boulevard. He was released from custody after posting bail.
Leben faced Brian Stann on January 1, 2011, at UFC 125 He lost the fight via TKO in the first round. After the fight between Leben and Stann, Leben's coach Burton Richardson says Leben's poor performance may have been caused by a sickness before the bout: "First, great job by Brian Stann. He never looked better. Many have commented that Chris was very slow and looked off last night. The truth is that Chris was sick. He had a fever and chills when he stepped into the cage. He was vomiting in the locker room before the fight, and after a hard warm up he didn't have a drop of sweat. Big heart to fight like that, but he was moving slow motion. He was very sharp in training. He will be back."
On April 4, 2011, the UFC announced that Leben's next opponent would be Wanderlei Silva with the two scheduled to meet on July 2, 2011 at UFC 132. Leben knocked out Silva with consecutive uppercuts from the clinch, 27 seconds into the fight, resulting in the fastest knockout win in Leben's career.
Leben faced Mark Muñoz on November 5, 2011 at UFC 138, losing by TKO at the 5:00 mark of the 2nd round due to a cut on his left eyebrow and left him unable to see and forced a corner stoppage. On November 28, 2011, Zuffa LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, released information stating that Leben tested positive for oxycodone and oxymorphone following his loss to Muñoz at UFC 138. As a result of the positive test, Leben was suspended from fighting for 1 year.
Leben's return fight was expected to be against Karlos Vemola on December 29, 2012 at UFC 155. However, Vemola was forced out of the bout and replaced by promotional newcomer Derek Brunson. Leben was defeated via unanimous decision.
Leben faced Uriah Hall on December 28, 2013 at UFC 168. After almost being knocked out at the end of the first round, Leben told his corner that he was done, taking a TKO loss to Hall after the first round. UFC commentator Joe Rogan pointed out during the broadcast that Leben asked, "Was I knocked out?" as he was being led to his corner. Leben then reiterated "I'm done" multiple times before the fight was waved off. This marked Leben's fourth loss in a row.
On January 20, 2014, Leben announced his retirement from MMA competition. He will refocus on coaching at Victory MMA & Fitness in San Diego, California. He cited an increasingly talented middleweight roster, his recent losing streak and the risk of serious injury as reasons for retiring. He called himself fortunate to have never had surgery throughout his record 22-fight middleweight stint, though he predicted several of his nagging injuries will get worse with time.
In May 2007, Leben moved to East Oahu, Hawaii to accept the main coaching job at Icon Fitness MMA Gym. ICON Sport promoter T. Jay Thompson said, "I am very excited to have Chris at our new facility. His energy and overall enthusiasm for the sport will add tremendously to our gym. I am very impressed with the family friendly 'outside of the cage' personality of Chris and what that will mean to our members." In addition to training at ICON, Leben and fighter Steven "The Soul Samurai" Saito opened Ultimate Fight School gym in Oahu in January, located two blocks from the University of Hawaii campus. Leben is a playable fighter in the UFC Undisputed video games. Before becoming a professional fighter, Leben worked construction and was a housepainter.
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Amateur titles
- FCFF Middleweight Championship (One time)
- UFCF Middleweight Championship (One time)
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|33 matches||22 wins||11 losses|
|Loss||22–11||Uriah Hall||TKO (retirement)||UFC 168||December 28, 2013||1||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||22–10||Andrew Craig||Decision (split)||UFC 162||July 6, 2013||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||22–9||Derek Brunson||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 155||December 29, 2012||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||22–8||Mark Muñoz||TKO (corner stoppage)||UFC 138||November 5, 2011||2||5:00||Birmingham, England, United Kingdom||First 5 round non-title bout in UFC history; Leben tested positive for Oxymorphone and oxycodone.|
|Win||22–7||Wanderlei Silva||KO (punches)||UFC 132||July 2, 2011||1||0:27||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||21–7||Brian Stann||TKO (knee and punches)||UFC 125||January 1, 2011||1||3:37||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||21–6||Yoshihiro Akiyama||Submission (triangle choke)||UFC 116||July 3, 2010||3||4:40||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night|
|Win||20–6||Aaron Simpson||TKO (punches)||The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale||June 19, 2010||2||4:17||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Knockout of the Night|
|Win||19–6||Jay Silva||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night: Maynard vs. Diaz||January 11, 2010||3||5:00||Fairfax, Virginia, United States|
|Loss||18–6||Jake Rosholt||Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke)||UFC 102||August 29, 2009||3||1:30||Portland, Oregon, United States|
|Loss||18–5||Michael Bisping||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 89||October 18, 2008||3||5:00||Birmingham, England, United Kingdom||Leben tested positive for Stanozolol|
|Win||18–4||Alessio Sakara||TKO (punches)||UFC 82||March 1, 2008||1||3:16||Columbus, Ohio, United States||Knockout of the Night|
|Win||17–4||Terry Martin||KO (punch)||UFC Fight Night: Thomas vs Florian||September 19, 2007||3||3:56||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Knockout of the Night|
|Loss||16–4||Kalib Starnes||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 71||May 26, 2007||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Fight of the Night|
|Loss||16–3||Jason MacDonald||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC 66||December 30, 2006||2||4:03||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||16–2||Jorge Santiago||KO (punch)||UFC Fight Night 6||August 17, 2006||2||0:35||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Knockout of the Night|
|Loss||15–2||Anderson Silva||KO (knee)||UFC Fight Night 5||June 28, 2006||1||0:49||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||UFC Middleweight title eliminator.|
|Win||15–1||Luigi Fioravanti||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Fight Night 4||April 6, 2006||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||14–1||Jorge Rivera||TKO (punches)||UFC Fight Night 3||January 16, 2006||1||1:44||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||13–1||Edwin Dewees||Submission (armbar)||UFC Fight Night 2||October 3, 2005||1||3:26||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||12–1||Patrick Côté||Decision (split)||UFC Fight Night||August 5, 2005||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||11–1||Jason Thacker||TKO (punches)||The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale||April 9, 2005||1||1:35||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||10–1||Benji Radach||TKO (broken jaw)||SF 4: Fight For Freedom||June 26, 2004||3||3:43||Gresham, Oregon, United States|
|Loss||9–1||Joe Doerksen||Decision (unanimous)||Freestyle Fighting Championships 9||May 14, 2004||3||5:00||Biloxi, Mississippi, United States|
|Win||9–0||Justin Davis||KO (punch)||SF 3: Dome||April 17, 2004||1||1:54||Gresham, Oregon, United States|
|Win||8–0||Boyd Ballard||KO (punches)||UFCF: Night of Champions||January 31, 2004||1||1:50||Lynnwood, Washington, United States|
|Win||7–0||Mike Swick||KO (punch)||WEC 9||January 16, 2004||2||0:45||Lemoore, California, United States||Won inaugural WEC Middleweight Championship|
|Win||6–0||James Fanshier||Decision (unanimous)||Gladiator Challenge 20||November 13, 2003||3||5:00||Colusa, California, United States|
|Win||5–0||Brian Sleeman||Submission (armbar)||WEC 8||October 17, 2003||1||3:15||Lemoore, California, United States|
|Win||4–0||Boyd Ballard||Submission (armbar)||UFCF: Night of Champions||October 11, 2003||1||2:18||Lynnwood, Washington, United States|
|Win||3–0||Landon Showalter||Decision (unanimous)||TQP: Sport Fight "Second Coming"||August 23, 2003||3||5:00||Gresham, Oregon, United States|
|Win||2–0||Otto Olson||KO (punch)||UFCF: Battle in Seattle||July 26, 2003||1||2:01||Seattle, Washington, United States|
|Win||1–0||Bryce Hamilton||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFCF: Everett Extreme Challenge 6||November 9, 2002||1||2:45||Everett, Washington, United States|
- List of current UFC fighters
- List of male mixed martial artists
- List of World Extreme Cagefighting champions
Notes and references
- "Christian Cyrus Leben". CAGETODAY.com. May 2008. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- Getting To Know: Chris Leben. Lockflow.com (2005-06-15). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- Jesse Holland (June 22, 2012). "Pic: Chris Leben earns his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt under Sidney Silva". MMA Mania.
- "Chris Leben: The Origin". cagepotato. (2008-10-18). Retrieved on 2013-06-18.
- "Leben, an Everett fighter, is top contender in booming sport". seattlepi. 2006-07-26.
- Leben gets second chance against Bisping at UFC 89. Punch.freedomblogging.com (2008-10-15). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- "Leben, Martin Set for UFN 11". Nokaut.com. 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "UFC Fighter Chris Leben Arrested for DUI". MMA Junkie.com. April 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
- The World's Greatest MMA Magazine – Event Reports – UFC 89 In Review. Fighters Only Magazine. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- UFC 89 Play-by-Play. Sherdog.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- 164mph.com. 164mph.com (2011-04-08). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- "Leben tests positive for painkillers, suspended". NBC Sports.
- "Failed UFC 89 drug test nets Chris Leben nine-month suspension (updated)". MMAjunkie.
- "Middleweights Chris Leben and Jake Rosholt to meet at UFC 102". MMAjunkie.
- "SIMPSON VS. LEBEN ON TUF 11 FINALE MAIN CARD". MMAWeekly.com. 2010-04-05.
- "Mixed martial arts fighter arrested on suspicion of DUI following crash". Hawaii News Now.com. October 20, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
- "Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann targeted for UFC 125 New Year's Day event". mmajunkie.com. 2010-09-22.
- Burton Richardson. MMAnews.se. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- "Wanderlei gets Leben at UFC 132". ufc.com. 2011-04-04.
- "Leben Suspended After UFC 138". ufc.com. 2011-11-28.
- Erickson, Matt (2012-09-12). "Chris Leben returns in December, meets Karlos Vemola at UFC 155 in Las Vegas". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Karlos Vemola out at UFC 155, Strikeforce vet Derek Brunson meets Chris Leben". mmajunkie.com. December 18, 2012.
- Staff (2013-03-12). "Craig vs. Leben added to July's UFC 162 event". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- Steven Marrocco (January 20, 2014). "‘TUF 1’ vet Chris Leben announces retirement after 22 UFC fights". mmajunkie.com.
- UFC 89 Betting, Michael Bisping vs Chris Leben, UFC Handicapping Predictions. Fighting-mma.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- uproarhawaii.com. uproarhawaii.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- Comeback Fighter of the Year – Sherdog’s 2010 Misc. Awards. Sherdog.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
- Official website
- Professional MMA record for Chris Leben from Sherdog
- Chris Leben on Myspace
- Official UFC Profile
- Chris Leben at the Internet Movie Database
- Chris Leben arrested for DUI
|New championship||1st WEC Middleweight Champion
January 16, 2004 – January 2005
Title next held byJoe Riggs