UFC middleweight fighter Chris “The Crippler” Leben experienced a return to form in 2010, snapping a two-fight losing streak which was comprised of losses Michael Bisping and Jake Rosholt by defeating Jay Silva, Aaron Simpson and then, only a few weeks after the Simpson bout, Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Not only that, but fighter formerly known as “The Cat Smasher” also earned Knockout of the Night and Fight of the Night honors in his bouts against Simpson and Akiyama. Leben has had an up-and-down UFC career, at times marred by controversy outside of the cage and uncharacteristic performances inside. The Oahu, Hawaii-stationed fighter recently spoke with Men’s Fitness UK, where he credited his 2006 knockout loss to current champion Anderson Silva for his recent resurgence.
“I started changing my style after the Anderson Silva fight when it became pretty obvious that I couldn’t go out all guns blazing and expect to beat elite fighters. I needed to pick my shots better and have a more adaptable game,” Leben said. “My coach Burt Richardson has really helped with this – he’s got me to mix up my striking with more technical brawling and my ground game, which despite what some people think has always been pretty good. It took me a while to get a handle on these changes – I lost a couple of fights after Silva, but it’s really paying off now, I feel as if I’m a more technical fighter and can respond quicker and more intelligently than before.”
Leben is now set to take on fellow UFC middleweight Brian Stann in the co-main event of UFC 125: Resolution this January 1st at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will no doubt be looking to start the year off with a bang and continue to build on the momentum he gathered throughout 2010.