MENU
#Conor McGregor #Cris Cyborg #UFC 211 #Nate Diaz #Bellator 179 #Rory MacDonald #Angela Magana #Paul Daley #Diaz vs. McGregor 2 #Jon Jones #Daniel Cormier


Chris Leben is no stranger to new beginnings. In July, he’ll put his latest one to the test and so far, it seems to be working out just fine.

Leben (22-9 MMA, 12-8 UFC) meets Andrew Craig (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 162. He’ll do so after a major camp switch that saw him move from Hawaii to San Diego to train at Alliance MMA.

Leben uprooted from his longtime training base on Oahu and moved to California in part because his wife now is in law school in San Diego. But it may turn out to be perfect timing all the way around.

“If you’ve got to move from Hawaii, San Diego’s probably your only option,” Leben told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I love Hawaii. But there’s just not a lot going on out there. If you’re looking to retire, Hawaii’s fantastic. But I’m training at Alliance, and the quality of training there, it’s phenomenal. I think it’s a really, really good move for me.”

UFC 162 takes place July 6 at at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. The evening’s main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.

Leben gave up the gym he was running in Hawaii to concentrate full-time on fighting. The opportunity to teach and coach and train will be there later, he figured. Right now, he wants to take one more run at things in the UFC’s middleweight division.

And after some high-profile scrapes with substance abuse and suspensions from the UFC, Leben believes he’s on the right path right now to make that run as a 32-year-old fighter.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career,” he said. “But with the new gym and sticking to my diet and actually walking the line, I feel 10 years younger now than when I was competing earlier. I’m performing better in the gym and we hopefully get to have that transfer over come (fight) night. I don’t see myself hanging my hat up anytime soon.”

Those ups and downs have caused more than few people to raise eyebrows in Leben’s general direction through the years, and he knows it. In fact, when it came to training at Alliance, Leben knew his new training partners and coaches might be a little skeptical of him joining the team.

“I can’t tell you just how nervous I was,” Leben said. “But obviously everyone at the gym is concerned because one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. And what they have at Alliance is, there’s such a camaraderie and a team feeling. At first, I feel like it was a probational period. But I feel like I’m getting to the end of that now where I’m showing them I’m 32 years old, I’m married, I’m not the crazy ‘Crippler’ that you guys saw on the first ‘Ultimate Fighter’ – that’s not me anymore. I want to go in, train hard, do my work and be a productive member of this team. I think those guys are starting to see that now. Everyone’s starting to open up and we’re starting to talk a little more. So it’s definitely moving in the right direction.”

Leben will get to see that direction when he meets Craig at UFC 162. And while the Texan may not have the same name recognition as recent Leben opponents like Brian Stann, Wanderlei Silva and Mark Munoz, Leben isn’t taking anything for granted.

In fact, just the opposite. With three losses in his past four fights, plus a suspension in there, he knows a win is crucial.

“Everybody’s tough nowadays,” he said. “In the UFC, either you’re fighting a hardened veteran or you’re fighting a young and hungry newcomer who needs to win to keep his job. There’s really no easy fights anymore. The skill level in the game has just accelerated and gotten so much higher in the last few years. I’m training harder than i ever have and there is absolutely no looking past Andrew Craig in any way. I have to go out and make a statement, and that’s what I plan to do.”

For the latest on UFC 162, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Former UFC owners turned down $5 billion buyout offer, per Dana White

  • 28 days ago
  • 277 views

The UFC sold this past July for about $4 billion, or $3.775 billion and a quarter-billion in earn-outs, if you want to get technical. But when the promotion's former owners were considering which buy read news >>

UFC titleholder Tyron Woodley returns in July: 'Champ camp just kicked off'

  • 26 days ago
  • 43 views

It appears UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will fit a title defense into his busy schedule.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

The Art of Fighting in the UFC Has Changed. Here's How.

  • 26 days ago
  • 30 views

Since July 2014, I've written 110 previews of UFC events. In that time, I've seen every single fight the promotion has put on and thousands more besides in order to do the necessary film study to wri read news >>

Dana White Would Have Signed a 55-Year Deal as UFC President | MMAWeekly.com

  • 24 days ago
  • 83 views

When UFC was sold in July 2016 to WME-IMG for a staggering $4.2 billion, longtime president Dana White inked a five-year deal to remain with the fight company. read news >>

Dana White Couldn't Be a Bigger Believer in New UFC Owner | MMAWeekly.com

  • 22 days ago
  • 39 views

When UFC former owners sold the fight promotion in July 2016 for $4.2 billion to WME–IMG, the promotion's longtime president, Dana White, was distraught. read news >>

Danny Roberts vs. Bobby Nash latest ticketed for UFC Fight Night 113 in Scotland

  • 19 days ago
  • 4 views

The UFC’s return to Scotland in July continues to build with the addition of a welterweight fight. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

'Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series' debuts July 11 on UFC Fight Pass with 5 live fights a week

  • 10 days ago
  • 13 views

After the success of the online series “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight,” the UFC president has a new show set to debut this summer. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Fertitta brothers use UFC sale money to form investment firm

  • 22 days ago
  • 43 views

Buoyed by the $4 billion sale of the UFC this past July, the Fertitta brothers are getting into the investment game. The Wall Street Journal today reported Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have formed Fert read news >>

One more time: Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones title rematch set for UFC 214 on July 29

  • 11 days ago
  • 8 views

The UFC will once again will tempt fate by booking a rematch between UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former titleholder Jon Jones. This time it’s teed up for the main event of UFC 2 read news >>

UFC Fight Night 113: Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio Glasgow Poland Fight Card | MMAWeekly.com

  • 7 days ago
  • 3 views

Information for UFC Fight Night 113 on July 16 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. read news >>