Chris Leben

Chris Leben

Chris Leben
Born Christian Cyrus Leben[1]
(1980-07-21) July 21, 1980
Portland, Oregon, United States
Other names The Crippler[2]
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)

Middleweight (185 lb)

Light Heavyweight (205 Ilb)
Reach 75 in (191 cm)
Style Boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Wrestling
Stance Southpaw
Fighting out of Chula Vista, California
Team Alliance MMA
Icon Fitness MMA (formerly)
Team Quest (formerly)

Purple Belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Sidney Silva[3]

High School Wrestling
Years active 2002–2013
Mixed martial arts record
Total 33
Wins 22
By knockout 12
By submission 5
By decision 5
Losses 11
By knockout 4
By submission 2
By decision 5
Website Chris Leben on Facebook
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Christian Cyrus Leben[1] (born July 21, 1980) is a retired American The Ultimate Fighter reality series, and has also fought in the now-defunct WEC. He began his UFC career with five victories in a row before suffering a knockout loss to former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Leben was the first WEC Middleweight Champion.


  • Background 1
  • Mixed martial arts 2
    • Early career 2.1
    • The Ultimate Fighter 2.2
    • Ultimate Fighting Championship 2.3
    • Retirement 2.4
  • Personal life 3
  • Championships and accomplishments 4
    • Mixed martial arts 4.1
  • Mixed martial arts record 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes and references 7
  • External links 8


Leben is from Portland, Oregon and has one older brother and one younger sister. He grew up without his father around, and he did not even meet his father until he was 23 years old. Because of this, Leben's mother worked hard for many hours daily as a bartender so that she could support the family. Growing up Leben enjoyed skateboarding, dirt biking, and snowboarding. When he was in middle school, he began watching the UFC and became very interested in MMA. He began training in boxing, and then was on the wrestling team at Benson Polytechnic High School, picking up the sport rather quickly. Leben did not receive a very good education in his childhood, and did not know how to read or write even after graduating high school. Leben soon joined the United States Army, falsely being told by the recruiter that he would be allowed to wrestle for the army's team. When he found that he would not be allowed to wrestle for the army, Leben went AWOL and was discharged.[4]

Mixed martial arts

Early career

While visiting his brother at work one day, Leben noticed a MMA gym located across the street, home to Team Quest. Trainer Robert Follis accepted Leben into the team, and soon Leben was training with Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, Nate Quarry, and Ed Herman. After refining his talent, Leben began fighting as an amateur, achieving a record of 5–0, and capturing the FCFF and UFCF middleweight titles.

After his success in the amateur ranks, Leben turned professional. He won his first five fights, three of them by knockout, and in the process won the Gladiator Challenge, Sportfight, and WEC Middleweight titles. Leben achieved wins against Benji Radach and Mike Swick, but suffered a decision loss to Joe Doerksen.

The Ultimate Fighter

Leben was one of the most controversial and outspoken fighters on The Ultimate Fighter 1 due to his variously abrasive and melancholy personality. In the first episode, while intoxicated, he urinated on future teammate Jason Thacker's bed, and stole his pillow. One night when everyone in the household was drinking, Bobby Southworth called Leben a "fatherless bastard" on account of Leben's father being absent during his childhood, requiring Leben being physically restrained from accosting Southworth. Leben then began sobbing and proceeded to sleep outside. After a heated confrontation precipitated by Josh Koscheck and Southworth spraying a sleeping Leben with a hose,[5] Leben broke a door with his fist.[6] After the confrontation, UFC president Dana White set up a match between Leben and Koscheck, which Leben lost by unanimous decision due to Koscheck's ability to score points by controlling Leben on the ground.

Later in the show, teammate Nate Quarry was eliminated from the competition due to an ankle injury and was able to choose a previously eliminated fighter to replace him. He chose Leben, who was later defeated by Kenny Florian due to doctor stoppage in the first semi-final match after Florian opened a cut above Leben's eye with an elbow strike. His losses on the show are not on his professional record, as the fights were classified by Nevada as exhibition bouts due to the decisions of the bouts not being disclosed until the fights aired on the show rather than being posted immediately following the fights.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

On April 9, 2005, Leben fought Jason Thacker on the undercard of the live finale of The Ultimate Fighter 1. Thacker was not amused when he watched the show and found out Leben had used his bed as a urinal. Speaking with Dana White, Thacker demanded a match against Leben at the finale. The match was set up, and Leben won 95 seconds into the first round after referee stoppage due to strikes. Afterward, Leben apologized to Thacker for urinating on his bed, saying he had since given up drinking because of that sort of incident.

After the show, Leben moved to knockout 35 seconds into the second round. He is the only fighter to fight at every event under the "Fight Night" banner.

Leben then lost at UFC 66 to longtime UFC veteran Jason MacDonald via technical submission due to a modified guillotine choke with less than a minute remaining in the second round.

Leben then lost to Kalib Starnes by a very close unanimous decision at UFC 71 on May 26, 2007. The bout won Fight of the Night honors.

It was reported that Leben was offered a main event fight against Mike Swick at UFC Fight Night 11, but turned down the fight for unknown reasons; it was later revealed on the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 reunion show by UFC President Dana White's call to matchmaker Joe Silva that Leben's camp turned down the fight and that Leben himself had no prior knowledge of the fight offer.[7] Leben instead took on Terry Martin on the same UFC Fight Night 11 card. Even after being rocked with multiple punches by Martin, a half-dazed Leben defeated Martin by knockout at 3:56 of the third round.

At UFC 82, he knocked out Italian Alessio Sakara in the first round, winning the Knockout of the Night award.

On April 30, 2008, Leben was arrested in Oregon by Clackamas County Sheriffs for a DUI stemming from an earlier date.[8] He was kept in jail and temporarily held without bond for allegedly violating his probation. Leben was then sentenced to 35 days in jail.

His next fight was against Michael Bisping at UFC 89, which he lost by a unanimous decision after a full three rounds. Leben taunted Bisping throughout the last two rounds by dropping his arms and raising his chin.[9] The judges scored the fight 30–27 (twice) and 29–28 for Bisping.[10] Bisping used effective counter punching in the fight to keep the aggressive Leben at bay. Both fighters showed sportsmanship by congratulating one another and raising each other's arm after the fight. After the fight with Bisping, Leben tested positive for Stanozolol and was suspended for nine months and fined a third of his fight purse.[11][12] He was eligible to return in July 2009.[13] Leben admitted he had used the substance several months prior to the fight, but stated he had assumed it would have been out of his system by then.

Leben then fought Jake Rosholt at UFC 102 in Leben's hometown of Portland, Oregon.[14] In the third round, he was rendered unconscious via an arm triangle choke, losing the fight by submission.

Leben then faced Jay Silva on January 11, 2010, at UFC Fight Night 20, winning via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, 30–27).

Leben was expected to face Aaron Simpson at UFC 114, but the bout took place on June 19, 2010, at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz Finale.[15] After a rough first round where Simpson slammed Leben a couple of times, Leben eventually connected consecutive punches on Simpson in the second that sent him stumbling across the octagon, collapsing face first at the other side of the octagon, prompting referee Josh Rosenthal to end the fight via TKO at 4:17 of the second round.

After Wanderlei Silva was forced out of his UFC 116 bout with Yoshihiro Akiyama due to broken ribs, Leben agreed to fill in for Silva in the bout against Akiyama, and faced him two weeks after defeating Simpson. Although he was outstruck and outwrestled for most of the first round, Leben managed to stay competitive and keep a fast paced fight with the rapidly tiring Akiyama in the second round. In the third and final round, Leben capitalized and sunk in a triangle choke with just twenty seconds left in the fight, forcing Akiyama to submit. It was considered the best performance of Leben's career and one of the best fights of the year. After the fight, Leben called for a fight with Silva, saying "come on Wanderlei, I'll take you out, too!", though UFC president Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that a Leben-Silva affair is not under consideration. Leben won's Comeback Fighter of the Year for 2010.

On October 20, 2010, Leben was arrested in Honolulu, Hawaii for suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing his truck into a wall off of Kapiolani Boulevard. He was released from custody after posting bail.[16]

Leben faced Brian Stann on January 1, 2011, at UFC 125[17] He lost the fight via TKO in the first round. After the fight between Leben and Stann, Leben's coach Burton Richardson[18] says Leben's poor performance may have been caused by a sickness before the bout: "First, great job by Brian Stann. He never looked better. Many have commented that Chris was very slow and looked off last night. The truth is that Chris was sick. He had a fever and chills when he stepped into the cage. He was vomiting in the locker room before the fight, and after a hard warm up he didn't have a drop of sweat. Big heart to fight like that, but he was moving slow motion. He was very sharp in training. He will be back." In 2014 Leben revealed in Submission Radio's show that the night before weigh-ins he was blackout drunk in a Las Vegas nightclub. In the nightclub's bathroom, he was upset for some reason and trashed marble stalls walls on the way out. He claims to have bribed the security guard of the nightclub for $500, ending up waking in the midst of his own vomit in his hotel room.[19]

On April 4, 2011, the UFC announced that Leben's next opponent would be Wanderlei Silva with the two scheduled to meet on July 2, 2011 at UFC 132.[20] Leben knocked out Silva with consecutive uppercuts from the clinch, 27 seconds into the fight, resulting in the fastest knockout win in Leben's career.

Leben faced Mark Muñoz on November 5, 2011 at UFC 138, losing by TKO at the 5:00 mark of the 2nd round due to a cut on his left eyebrow and left him unable to see and forced a corner stoppage. On November 28, 2011, Zuffa LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, released information stating that Leben tested positive for oxycodone and oxymorphone following his loss to Muñoz at UFC 138. As a result of the positive test, Leben was suspended from fighting for 1 year.[21]

Leben's return fight was expected to be against Karlos Vemola on December 29, 2012 at UFC 155.[22] However, Vemola was forced out of the bout and replaced by promotional newcomer Derek Brunson.[23] Leben was defeated via unanimous decision.

Leben fought Andrew Craig and lost by split decision on July 6, 2013 at UFC 162.[24]

Leben faced Uriah Hall on December 28, 2013 at UFC 168. After almost being knocked out at the end of the first round, Leben told his corner that he was done, taking a TKO loss to Hall after the first round. UFC commentator Joe Rogan pointed out during the broadcast that Leben asked, "Was I knocked out?" as he was being led to his corner. Leben then reiterated "I'm done" multiple times before the fight was waved off. This marked Leben's fourth loss in a row.


On January 20, 2014, Leben announced his retirement from MMA competition. He will refocus on coaching at Victory MMA & Fitness in San Diego, California. He cited an increasingly talented middleweight roster, his recent losing streak and the risk of serious injury as reasons for retiring. He called himself fortunate to have never had surgery throughout his record 22-fight middleweight stint, though he predicted several of his nagging injuries will get worse with time.[25]

Personal life

In May 2007, Leben moved to East Oahu, Hawaii to accept the main coaching job at Icon Fitness MMA Gym.[26] ICON Sport promoter T. Jay Thompson said, "I am very excited to have Chris at our new facility. His energy and overall enthusiasm for the sport will add tremendously to our gym. I am very impressed with the family friendly 'outside of the cage' personality of Chris and what that will mean to our members."[27] In addition to training at ICON, Leben and fighter Steven "The Soul Samurai" Saito opened Ultimate Fight School gym in Oahu in January, located two blocks from the University of Hawaii campus.[28] Leben is a playable fighter in the UFC Undisputed video games. Before becoming a professional fighter, Leben worked construction and was a housepainter. Leben has a radio show called "Unfiltered MMA Radio".[29]

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts

  • Gladiator Challenge
    • GC Middleweight Championship (One time)[30]
  • Sherdog and
    • 2010 Comeback Fighter of the Year[31]
  • Amateur titles
    • FCFF Middleweight Championship (One time)
    • UFCF Middleweight Championship (One time)

Mixed martial arts record

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 22–11 Uriah Hall TKO (retirement) UFC 168 December 28, 2013 1 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 22–10 Andrew Craig Decision (split) UFC 162 July 6, 2013 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 22–9 Derek Brunson Decision (unanimous) UFC 155 December 29, 2012 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 22–8 Mark Muñoz TKO (corner stoppage) UFC 138 November 5, 2011 2 5:00 Birmingham, England, United Kingdom Leben tested positive for banned substances.
Win 22–7 Wanderlei Silva KO (punches) UFC 132 July 2, 2011 1 0:27 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 21–7 Brian Stann TKO (knee and punches) UFC 125 January 1, 2011 1 3:37 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 21–6 Yoshihiro Akiyama Submission (triangle choke) UFC 116 July 3, 2010 3 4:40 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night
Win 20–6 Aaron Simpson TKO (punches) The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale June 19, 2010 2 4:17 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Knockout of the Night
Win 19–6 Jay Silva Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Maynard vs. Diaz January 11, 2010 3 5:00 Fairfax, Virginia, United States
Loss 18–6 Jake Rosholt Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC 102 August 29, 2009 3 1:30 Portland, Oregon, United States
Loss 18–5 Michael Bisping Decision (unanimous) UFC 89 October 18, 2008 3 5:00 Birmingham, England, United Kingdom Leben tested positive for Stanozolol
Win 18–4 Alessio Sakara KO (punches) UFC 82 March 1, 2008 1 3:16 Columbus, Ohio, United States Knockout of the Night
Win 17–4 Terry Martin KO (punch) UFC Fight Night: Thomas vs Florian September 19, 2007 3 3:56 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Knockout of the Night
Loss 16–4 Kalib Starnes Decision (unanimous) UFC 71 May 26, 2007 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night
Loss 16–3 Jason MacDonald Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz December 30, 2006 2 4:03 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 16–2 Jorge Santiago KO (punch) UFC Fight Night 6 August 17, 2006 2 0:35 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Knockout of the Night
Loss 15–2 Anderson Silva KO (knee) UFC Fight Night 5 June 28, 2006 1 0:49 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States UFC Middleweight title eliminator.
Win 15–1 Luigi Fioravanti Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night 4 April 6, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 14–1 Jorge Rivera TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night 3 January 16, 2006 1 1:44 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 13–1 Edwin Dewees Submission (armbar) UFC Fight Night 2 October 3, 2005 1 3:26 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 12–1 Patrick Côté Decision (split) UFC Fight Night August 5, 2005 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 11–1 Jason Thacker TKO (punches) The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale April 9, 2005 1 1:35 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 10–1 Benji Radach TKO (broken jaw) SF 4: Fight For Freedom June 26, 2004 3 3:43 Gresham, Oregon, United States
Loss 9–1 Joe Doerksen Decision (unanimous) Freestyle Fighting Championships 9 May 14, 2004 3 5:00 Biloxi, Mississippi, United States For vacant FFC Middleweight Championship[32]
Win 9–0 Justin Davis KO (punch) SF 3: Dome April 17, 2004 1 1:54 Gresham, Oregon, United States
Win 8–0 Boyd Ballard KO (punches) UFCF: Night of Champions January 31, 2004 1 1:50 Lynnwood, Washington, United States
Win 7–0 Mike Swick KO (punch) WEC 9 January 16, 2004 2 0:45 Lemoore, California, United States Won inaugural WEC Middleweight Championship
Win 6–0 James Fanshier Decision (unanimous) Gladiator Challenge 20 November 13, 2003 3 5:00 Colusa, California, United States Won vacant GC Middleweight Championship
Win 5–0 Brian Sleeman Submission (armbar) WEC 8 October 17, 2003 1 3:15 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 4–0 Boyd Ballard Submission (armbar) UFCF: Night of Champions October 11, 2003 1 2:18 Lynnwood, Washington, United States
Win 3–0 Landon Showalter Decision (unanimous) TQP: Sport Fight "Second Coming" August 23, 2003 3 5:00 Gresham, Oregon, United States
Win 2–0 Otto Olson KO (punch) UFCF: Battle in Seattle July 26, 2003 1 2:01 Seattle, Washington, United States
Win 1–0 Bryce Hamilton Submission (armbar) UFCF: Everett Extreme Challenge 6 November 9, 2002 1 2:45 Everett, Washington, United States

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Getting To Know: Chris Leben. (2005-06-15). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Leben gets second chance against Bisping at UFC 89. (2008-10-15). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ The World's Greatest MMA Magazine – Event Reports – UFC 89 In Review. Fighters Only Magazine. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  10. ^ UFC 89 Play-by-Play. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  11. ^ (2011-04-08). Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Burton Richardson. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ UFC 89 Betting, Michael Bisping vs Chris Leben, UFC Handicapping Predictions. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  27. ^ Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  28. ^ Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Comeback Fighter of the Year – Sherdog’s 2010 Misc. Awards. Retrieved on 2011-07-03.
  32. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Professional MMA record for Chris Leben from Sherdog
  • Official UFC Profile
  • Chris Leben at the Internet Movie Database
  • Chris Leben arrested for DUI
New championship 1st WEC Middleweight Champion
January 16, 2004 – January 2005
Title next held by
Joe Riggs