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Rewind to the start of 2010 and the idea that Chris Leben would be making noise about wanting a title shot at Anderson Silva seems somewhat absurd. By the end of 2009 Leben had gone 3-5 since agreeing to fight the then debuting Anderson Silva in 2006 at Ultimate Fight Night 5.
But Leben has come a long way in the two years that followed, going 4-1 with wins over legitimate names like Yoshihiro Akiyama, Aaron Simpson and Wanderlei Silva. It's enough that Leben tells MMA Fighting that he feels like his main event fight against Mark Munoz at UFC 138 should be for the number one contender to the UFC middleweight title:
"Honestly, in my mind this is for number one contender. He's won three straight, I've won four of my last five, just knocked out Wanderlei Silva. I think me and Munoz, if I go out there and defeat him and dominate him that should say that, hey, Chris deserves a crack at the title."
It seems crazy at first to suggest that Leben get another crack at Silva after the way that he was handled in 2006, but it seems just as crazy to write off the idea of someone getting a shot because they lost to the champion almost six years prior.
The truth is, while I'd much rather see Silva rematch Chael Sonnen, people care about Leben and a win over Munoz would be a win over the #4 ranked middleweight in the world. With a win that legitimate and no desire in the public to see a rematch against Yushin Okami, Demian Maia or Vitor Belfort it almost makes sense that Leben joins the short list of potential Silva foes with Sonnen and Michael Bisping.
Chris Leben's crazy talk actually kind of makes sense.