The long and winding career of Chris Leben came to an end a few weeks ago, in the BKFC ring. However he says that there is one fight that would make him consider coming out of retirement.
After initially making a name for himself on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, Leben went on to have a decent career in the UFC. While he never held gold, he made it fairly close and had a ton of exciting wars along the way.
The latter portion of his career was riddled with health issues from addiction, which eventually led him to BKFC. He had a few fights here, before retiring with a knockout win over Quentin Henry earlier this month.
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Chris Leben Would Consider Fighting Jake Paul
With this fairytale ending, Chris Leben gets to ride off into the sunset with an impressive win in his final bout. However he would be interested in fighting again, if the opponent is right.
The Crippler has already spoken about being open to a fight with YouTube boxer Jake Paul, and he doubled down on this in a recent interview. Other than this fight, he says that he is likely done fighting.
“Unless I’m fighting Jake Paul or something crazy like that, that’s it. I’m done,” Leben said. “I really don’t have a desire, I don’t have anything to prove. If I did, it’s because somebody wants to pay me a zillion dollars.”
While he would be open to this fight, it is not because Chris has any respect for Jake Paul. He just feels that this fight would bring a lot of attention to the sport, and be good for both BKFC and boxing.
“Honestly, a lot of people want to act like they’re true martial artists and they’re pure to the sport and it’s a disgrace. That’s all bullsh*t,” Leben said.
“Listen, they’re bringing a lot of eyes to combat sports. They’re bringing a lot of attention and a lot of focus and that’s good for us. Right now, BKFC is the fastest-growing sport in the world. Combat sports are now in everybody’s home. These combat sports athletes are household names. 10 years ago, that wasn’t the case. People are getting greedy. Don’t act like that.
“Let’s take it. It makes sense. It makes money. It draws attention,” Leben continued.
“It’s like Conor [McGregor] fighting [Floyd] Mayweather, look that’s a great fight. It was great for MMA. It was great for boxing. Because you had the MMA fans watching the MMA guy, you had MMA guys ordering a boxing pay-per-view. Now all of a sudden you’ve got crossover fans, more embedded in combat sports as a whole. I think there’s no bad about it.”
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What’s Next For The Crippler
As much as you want to admire Chris Leben for shooting his shot, this seems like a far fetched idea of a fight. So the likeliest of outcomes is that he will stay retired, and focus on other endeavors.
In particular, Chris wants to help the next generation of fighters by opening up his own training facility. Inspired by his coach, the late Robert Follis, he hopes to be a role model to other young fighters.
“Listen, I’ve been fighting my whole life,” Leben said. “I’ve put in the time. I did the work. It’s time for me to move on. As a martial artist, move onto the next step, which opening my own place, developing my own lineage. Taking these young fighters from zero training all the way up to UFC, Bellator, BKFC, level competitors.
“I had a great coach in my past, Robert Follis, he was such a mentor to me. He saved my life. I think a ton of other professional fighters would say the same thing. I want to be what he was for me to other people. So that’s my goal.”
If we really have seen the last of Chris Leben in a competitive setting, he had one of the most legendary careers you will ever see. He grew into a fan favorite, and is a true pioneer for the sport of MMA.