It’s fair to say it’s been a roller-coaster couple of weeks for Chris Leben. At the TUF 11 Finale on June 19th he claimed a win over Aaron Simpson, who at the time was undefeated at 7-0. Just a few days later received a call to ask if he’d fight again against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116 on July 3rd.
Never one to back down from a challenge, Leben agreed despite still suffering ‘bumps and bruises’ from his previous fight. Those injuries are visible in his new video interview for the UFC ahead of the fight, with a split lip and black eye still healing from the two round bout which he eventually won by TKO.
“It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up. I go out there and I win this fight you know, it’s going to shake things up,” he says.
He’s right, a win would leave him three fights unbeaten and help propel him up the middleweight ladder. On the other hand Akiyama is a tough adversary to be facing with less than two weeks preparation, so it’s definitely a gamble.
His willingness to take on the fight at short notice will also leave him in the UFC’s good books though, and after picking up a $70,000 salary plus a $25,000 ‘Knockout Of The Night’ bonus for his last performance, another payday certainly won’t do his bank balance any harm either.
Check out Leben’s full promo interview for the fight below.