Known to some as the wild man from season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter, Chris Leben has slowly put together one of the most impressive resumes in the UFC and become one of the top middleweights in the world. Saturday night Leben will look to climb that ladder one more rung when he faces hometown fan favorite Michael Bisping at UFC 89 and he’ll be looking for his usual – the knockout.
MMATraining.com caught up with the Oregon native before he left for England this week. Leben talked about how tough his training camp was in Hawaii and he thoughts on Bisping.
“Michael Bisping is a tough kid. He’s looked good at 185 and he’s a striker which should make it an exciting match. He’s got good footwork, really good footwork actually, and he has good movement. From what I’ve seen of him at middleweight he’s got real fast hands, his hands are probably faster than mine – so I’m going to get hit a few times for sure. I’m ready to bang.”
Leben (18-4) is full of confidence these days. He’s 8-3 inside the Octagon and is coming off 2 straight wins over Terry Martin and Alessio Sakara. Leben is convinced he can put the Brit away, but can Bisping do the same to him?
“I don’t really think he has the power to finish me, I don’t think he has any huge knockout power. I’ve got the guns to put him out with one or two shots and I don’t think he’ll have the power to put me away. I get hit in all my fights and this one won’t be any different, but I can put him away at any time and he’ll have to work at the whole fight to put me down.”
Leben has moved his camp and his life down to Hawaii to train with Icon Fitness, where he is one of their head instructors. Many changes came with this, but the biggest change is his diet.
“I eat a lot of sushi and fresh fish because that is the most available thing here. It’s an island, so everything else has to be brought in. Now that I eat properly I can really see and feel the difference. It’s harder to eat like crap out here and everything is so fresh and lean.”
Leben would like another shot at Anderson Silva one day, but is taking his career one fight at a time. Another step towards that title shot will be standing in his way Saturday night. When asked to give a prediction, Leben did not hesitate.
“I see this fight ending with another knockout. I don’t know when I’ll get it, it would be nice to end it early – but I’m ready to go all three if I have to – he’s a tough, tough kid and it’s going to be hard work. But, at the end of the day, that’s what the fans want to see, everyone likes a finish and that’s what I’m shootin’ for – lights out in London. That’s the idea.”