Being a professional fighter is no ordinary job. When someone enters the world of professional mixed martial arts, they must carry themselves with confidence, excellence and sense of swagger to top it all off. When Chris Leben first fought professionally in 2002, he brought all of these things with him and more. Leben was a vicious striker who became one of the MMA’s top tough guys. When it came to exemplifying what being a fighter was all about, Leben certainly played the part. But now Leben will be stepping away from the profession that he has called his own for the last decade. Chris Leben is putting his gloves away. In a recent segment of The MMA Hour, Leben announced that he is finished fighting for good.
“After [UFC 168], I wanted to go back and reevaluate things, make sure that the decision wasn’t based purely on emotion. That it was really what I wanted to do. And now, yes, I can say, I’ve really retired from competing in MMA.”
Leben’s 33 fight career has been full of success but his recent fights have not carried that claim. Leben’s most recent win was in July of 2011 when he knocked out Wanderlei Silva early in the first round. But since then he has lost 4 times, including his most recent loss to up and coming middleweight Uriah Hall. But Leben’s recent losses reaffirmed his willingness to keep striving for greatness in the sport he loved. Leben’s aggressive nature inside the octagon earned him respect from his fellow fighters including his former idol Wanderlei Silva.
“Wanderlei has always been my hero. When I started fighting, I used to walk two miles down to the store, where I could buy these bootleg Pride videos to watch Wanderlei fight. Really, watching him is what got me into the sport. So that win over Wanderlei (at UFC 132) was probably, for me, that was icing on the cake.”
Leben’s past has not always been the cleanest of fighters. The former WEC champion tested positive for illegal substances twice during his 12 year career. But despite his mishaps, Leben has always been a fan favorite amongst MMA’s die hard supporters. Although Leben’s future is somewhat unknown, he has stated a continued interest in the possibility of coaching. Only time will tell where “The Crippler lands” but many fans are hoping he stays involved with the MMA world.