Chris Leben has had a rocky road during a UFC career that began as a cast member of the very first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Leben is very likely fighting to save his career when he squares off against Uriah Hall at UFC 168. Strangely enough, the TUF 17 finalist is also likely fighting for his future as well, after a surprising loss in the TUF final to Kelvin Gastelum and a poor showing in a decision loss at Fight Night 26 against John Howard. That fight was such a dreary one, that it had UFC President Dana White questioning whether or not Hall had the mental makeup to be a fighter. The performances were a far cry from the highlight-reel, send people to the hospital fighter that fans saw during the TUF season.
The main rationale behind the matchmaking seems to be that Leben doesn’t know any other style than to come forward and stand and trade. He’s always relied on his granite chin and powerful punch that has produced twelve knockouts in 22 career wins. Leben’s battles with drugs and alcohol have been well-documented, and he has been suspended on a couple of occasions for failed post-fight drug tests.
The veteran has been on a clear downward spiral since one of the biggest moments of his entire career. After a shocking 27 second KO of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132, Leben has been destroyed by Mark Munoz and lost decisions to both Derek Brunson and Andrew Craig. As much as Leben is beloved because of his warrior’s spirit, another defeat should clearly spell the end of his Octagon career.
Hall hopefully has gotten the memo by now that he needs to impress this coming Saturday night. After two poor efforts, it will likely be a case of three strikes and you’re out. Hall has tremendous power and has the abilities to end fights with his fists or legs. Six of his seven career victories have come by way of knockout or submission. Hall will definitely need to be ready to go to war with Leben, because “The Crippler” doesn’t have it any other way.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.