UFC 155 Results: What's Next for Chris Leben?
Chris Leben marked his return to the cage after a yearlong absence with a lacklustre performance against UFC newcomer Derek Brunson, losing a three-round unanimous decision at UFC 155 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
It was Leben’s second loss in a row and Brunson’s first win in three fights.
What should have been an easy fight to ease Leben back into action after suffering a beating at the hands of Mark Munoz in November 2011, turned into a nightmare, as the fighter struggled to assert himself at any point in the match.
By the second round, the crowd were booing both fighters, however, the situation is far worse for Leben.
He’s now 1-3 in his last four fights and looks like the shadow of the man who racked up five straight wins when he entered the UFC more than seven years ago, earning himself a right to fight for the title against Anderson Silva.
Such a fight is now unthinkable with Leben having so much to do to salvage his career.
Since 2006, he’s lost to three top-10 middleweights including Michael Bisping, Brian Stann and Munoz. Many of those fights were one-sided beatings against the troubled fighter whose been suspended twice in his career for failing drug tests.
Still, Leben has a reputation in the sport and can boast wins such as his first-round 27-second KO of legend Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132 in July 2011. That still makes him a marketable commodity if little more than a gatekeeper at best, or a journeyman at worst.
A large part of his performance last night could be put down to ring rust, and if the fighter chooses to get back into the cage quickly, he could be given someone like Tim Boetsch, who also lost on the night.
Boetsch has rarely impressed as a middleweight and looked hopeless against Costantinos Philippou in his UFC 155 match. However, Boetsch does have wins against the likes of Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard on his record and has gone 4-1 in his last five fights.
That could make him a tempting opponent for Leben and a low-risk one, considering he showed little against Brunson to merit being given a top 10 contest.
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