"Fighters are like strippers; they ain't paying their way through college. If you don't understand what that means, you have to realize that there is always something underlying with all of us. Nobody in their right mind, no normal, sane person, goes ‘[expletive] college, screw my guidance counselor. I'm going to put all my chips in one basket to become a cage fighter so I can get the crap kicked out of me in front of other people.' Obviously, there is something wrong going on there... This guy (McGee) right here is the perfect example. It's that obsessive energy that we have that makes us different. It's that obsessive energy that, yeah, makes me cause a lot of problems for myself in my life. But look, look at where he's at now, willing to do whatever it is. Most fighters I know do whatever they do 110 percent. For me, it's all or nothing. It's either full throttle or nothing. Either I'm eating ice cream and candy or I'm dieting 100 percent. I'm yin and yang. If I go out and have a drink, I'm going to go out and get [expletive] trashed. I know that. That's why I'm not going to do that tonight. It's the same thing in the ring and it's that type of personality that makes all of us up here in front of you, it's what got us here. We all have something like that in us."
Fresh off his second round knockout victory against Aaron Simpson at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 11 Finale, Chris Leben details the mindset of a cage fighter. While his analogy may seem like a bit of a stretch, it is easy to see where he's coming from. Not every fighter grew up wanting to be a mixed martial artist. For some, it was a reprieve from everyday hardships and life struggles, just like TUF 11 champion Court McGee. Of course, for every two Court McGees or Chris Lebens, there is a Rich Franklin, someone who took to the sport of MMA purely for the passion of competition, not out of necessity. Either way you slice it, what Leben had to say here comes from an interesting and unique perspective, one that only the few who step inside that cage truly understand.