UFC 132: Will Chris Leben's legacy be defined in his showdown against Wanderlei Silva?

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Full circle.

At UFC 132 this Saturday night (July 2, 2011), Chris Leben gets the one fight he's always wanted and that's against former Pride Fighting Championship wrecking ball Wanderlei Silva.

This time last year, Leben was riding high after beating Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116: "Lesnar vs. Carwin" and subsequently called out "The Axe Murderer."

But did he really want Silva at UFC 132?

Facts are facts. "The Crippler" has never reached the championship heights of Silva. He didn't even win The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season one or beat then-rival Josh Koscheck.

He has, however, risen to the brink of earning a title shot before losing to Anderson Silva in "The Spider's" debut on Spike TV and he also lost in his first and only numbered UFC main event to Michael Bisping.

Leben, ever since his stint on TUF, has been an emotional guy which has also been his main reason for not excelling to the top. He's also been plagued with personal demons such as drugs and alcohol, socialized demons of the bar and family issues with his dad.

He was even arrested leading up to his fight against Michael Bisping at UFC 85 which changed to UFC 89 after his 35-day stint in the county jail. He then fell way down when he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs following a decision loss to "The Count."


All in all, UFC 89 was the lowest point for Leben.

I don't know if all of you agree with this, but I truly feel we may never see Leben capture the title at 185-pounds unless Anderson Silva retires or Leben gets the biggest of breaks. He hasn't shown any reason to change my opinion but I do feel in the past year or so that we are seeing the best Chris Leben we have ever seen.

His war with Akiyama at UFC 116 was a great showing of his advancement of arsenal as he sunk in a triangle on "Sexyama" and when he endured his zombie walk into everything Akiyama could throw to his face.


Hawaiian Zombie, Korean Zombie? It doesn't matter.

Leben, for all intents and purposes, has been one of the most exciting and talked about fighters since TUF launched. His popularity and style is comparable to the most feared striker ever to come from the "land of the rising sun" .... Wanderlei Silva.

His knees collapsed "Rampage" Jackson not once but, twice. He "rape choked" Keith Jardine and blasted his fist into the "Dean of Mean." He destroyed every one and even killed the "Gracie Killer." His wild style, like Leben, has also been his downfall.

His knockout losses to Mirko Filipovic, Dan Henderson and Rampage Jackson (third times a charm) have knocked him down from open weight challenges and 205-pounds down to 185. The cut was amazing to see due to the sheer brute size of Wanderlei but after watching him on "UFC: All Access" leading up to UFC 79, we saw that he trains like a nut and that his diet if changed could reach 185-pounds.

This fight is tailor made for them and if Chris Leben can knockout Silva, will a title-less career be ruined or will you remember Leben a little more if he knocks out Wanderlei?

Between the two here are the numbers:

Knockout /Submission/Fight of the Night awards: 7 (Leben-5, Silva-2)

KO/TKO/Submission wins:  Leben-19, Silva-26

Lost by KO/TKO/Submission: Leben-4, Silva-5 (Silva never been submitted)

Fastest win: Leben vs. Jason Thacker (Ultimate Fight Night 1, won by TKO at 1:35 of round one). Silva vs. Marcelo Barbosa (Brazilian Vale Tudo 10, won by TKO - shoulder injury - at 0:20 of round one).

Those numbers pretty much give you one indication: Someone's going to sleep at UFC 132.

I feel if Chris Leben wants to be talked about long after his career is over (and will likely be without UFC middleweight gold), then he must do one last thing and oddly enough he has the shot in 72 hours and that is to knockout your idol, Wanderlei Silva.

What say you?

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