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Move over Rich Franklin, the UFC may have a new company man ...


... and his name is Chris Leben?

"The UFC called me and they said Wanderlei was hurt and they want me to fight Akiyama ... At first I said no because I woke up in the morning, my phone was ringing and I was sore and it doesn’t make sense to take a fight when you’re not prepared and training for it. But then as I thought about it, you know, I’m a fighter, this is what I do. Why would I not take a great opportunity? It would be stupid of me. Not to mention that but I want to be a company man with the UFC, I want them to be happy with me. I don’t know a ton about Akiyama. My coach knows a bunch, but we haven’t even had a chance to talk much about our game plan. I saw him fight Alan Belcher and to be honest with you, I thought he lost that fight. He’s a good Judo guy, he’s got great Judo, fast kicks, maybe not the most power in the world. He’s a little bit shorter than me but he’s a good strong guy. I think that utilizing my skills, keeping it on the feet and clubbing him in the head with my left shouldn’t be too much of a problem."

"The Crippler" apparently wants to get in good graces with the Zuffa suits according to his latest comments on Leben pushed his record to 20-6 with a second round stoppage over the ultra-tough Aaron Simpson this past Saturday night (June 19) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 11 Finale in Las Vegas -- his second straight win after dropping a pair of fights in a tumultuous two year span that also saw the former TUF bad boy get popped for steroids. Should fans be prepared for Chris Leben 2.0? Or will Akiyama be too sexy for the hard-hitting middleweight on July 3?

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