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Chris Leben’s Five Career Defining Moments

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Photo Courtesy of UFC.com

Chris “The Crippler” Leben (22-11), one of the most popular fighters in the history of the UFC, announced his retirement earlier this week. Leben was loved by many for his “knockout at any cost” style. While Leben never wore UFC gold, the longevity and entertainment value of his career should merit consideration for the UFC Hall of Fame. Join us as we take a look back at the five career defining moments for Chris Leben.

Photo Courtesy of Sherdog.com
Photo Courtesy of Sherdog.com

5. Winning the WEC Middleweight Title Against Mike Swick


It was January 16th, 2004. The WEC was a little known promotion that aired on HDNet, Chris Leben was described as a wrestler, Mike Swick was unknown, and Josh Rosenthal still had hair. To say things were different would be an understatement. What took place that night would end up becoming the budding point in Leben’s career. After a close four minutes, Chris Leben absolutely rocked Mike Swick with a hard left hand. It was a surprising moment for all in attendance as Leben was thought of as only a wrestler and Mike Swick was supposed to be the kickboxing expert. Swick was able to make it out of the first round but was clearly not all there going into the second. Things looked to get better for Swick in the second but he became the first to find out that when you hurt Chris Leben he doesn’t go down; he puts you down. After being buckled by Swick, Leben came forward with a left hook that put Swick out cold. This was the birth of “The Crippler” we all know and love.

Photo Courtesy of UFC.com
Photo Courtesy of UFC.com

4. The Starching of Alessio Sakara

In my opinion this is the quintessential Chris Leben fight. Leben and Sakara met in the middle of the cage and began to throw leather immediately. Each fighter rocked the other before Leben put Sakara against the cage and turned his lights out with brutal punches. Whenever Chris Leben was thrown on a card the fans would expect to see a fight exactly like this. Both guys going for it until the one of them goes to sleep. If you were to teach a class on Chris Leben, this is the fight you would show on the first day.

(Photo Courtesy via UFC.com)
(Photo Courtesy via UFC.com)

3. The Comeback Versus Terry Martin

After likely being down 20-17 on the judges scorecards against Terry Martin, Chris Leben needed to do something spectacular to save his UFC career. Boy, did he ever. With one minute and fifteen seconds left in the bout, Martin clocked Leben with punches that made “The Crippler” stagger back towards the fence. Martin went for the kill but Leben had other plans. Before Martin could land the finishing blow, Leben stormed forward and put Martin out with a huge left hook. Leben showed that he was not a fighter that quit when things got rough. Instead, he was a fighter who could never be counted out of a fight. The finish also gave him that cool “Zombie Leben” moniker that would follow him to the end of his career.

 

Photo Courtesy of UFC.com
Photo Courtesy of UFC.com

2. Two Wins In Two Weeks

With a record of 1-2 in his last three bouts, Chris Leben was in desperate need of a win against Aaron Simpson. Simpson was able to out-class Leben in the first round, taking him down multiple times and beating Leben in the stand-up. The second round was much different. Simpson began to slow just as Leben was beginning to heat-up. After eating a series of hard left hands, Simpson tried to scamper across the cage only to fall flat on his face giving Leben the TKO victory. This fight signaled a new era in Leben’s career as he had finally strung together back to back wins for the first time since 2008. Even thought this seemed like a storybook ending, Leben was far from done in 2010. He then agreed to fill in against Yoshihiro Akiyama just two weeks after TKOing Simpson. Akiyama and Leben put on a fight of the year caliber performance where Leben scored another come from behind victory, submitting the Japanese superstar in the third round. 2010 was by far Leben’s best year inside the Octagon and further solidified his place in the UFC history books.

 

Photo Via UFC.com
Photo Via UFC.com

1. Knocking Out A Legend

At UFC 132 Chris Leben was matched up with his personal hero and mixed martial arts legend Wanderlei Silva. Most fans expected the bout to be quick and violent but the result still left many in awe. Silva came out guns blazing and rocked Leben just fifteen seconds into the bout. Leben fired back, grabbed a single collar tie clinch, and uncorked multiple left uppercuts that left his idol unconscious. It took just twenty-seven seconds for Leben to destroy one of mixed martial arts most feared fighters. This was by far the best moment in Leben’s career as he proved to himself and the world that he was one of the best to ever compete inside the cage.

The entire staff here at SciFighting would like to congratulate Chris Leben on his amazing mixed martial arts career and wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.

For all of your mixed martial arts and science news, stay logged on to SciFighting.com

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Daniel Reveles
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, Daniel Reveles' interest in Mixed Martial Arts began at the age of fourteen while attending a Fantasy Football draft at a Friend's house. That day Daniel's buddies ordered UFC 88 on Pay-Per-View featuring lauded striker and hometown hero Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell squaring off with Division One Wrestler “Suga” Rashad Evans. After seeing “the wrestler” Rashad Evans put the Ice Man out cold with an overhand right, Daniel became instantly hooked by the unpredictability of the sport. Since that moment Daniel has become well versed in Mixed Martial Arts History and has yet to miss an event. Daniel is currently studying at the University of California Santa Barbara to receive his Bachelor's Degree in Communications with hopes of becoming the next big media mogul. When he is not watching MMA or studying you can find Daniel hanging out with his family and friends or taking in a game at the lovely Dodger Stadium.