Chris Leben. I love Leben. I love the way he switched to a Walking Dead boss once Terry Martin punched him enough, and provided what I consider to be Knockout of the Century. I love the way he slapped that triangle on Akiyama in the 3rd round, after what I consider to be Fight of the Year for 2010. I even loved the way he spritzed on that Canadian blokes pillow.
UFC 138; it made me sad. It upset me. But it was something I knew deep down would happen, and knew for certain when I saw Leben entering the NEC with his pillow, all bleary eyed. Munoz is really becoming a force at Middleweight, and whilst I agree with those that post that he is not quite title-challenger material just yet - I did think that his devastating ground and pound would be too much for Leben, and stylistically the matchup favoured Munoz and his wrestling.
So with Munoz moving forward towards title contention, and a potential soul-stealing KO at the hands of Anderson Silva, what does the future hold for Leben?
Chris Leben's ability to move forward and take heavy shots means there are many match-ups available that would be extremely entertaining. One name when placed next to Leben that would create an interesting stylistic match-up is one which is included in the next UFC PPV for the first time - Cung Le. However, in either outcome of Le's debut against Wanderlei Silva, it seems difficult to place Le with Leben in the Octagon. A victory for Le would mean a winner vs loser match-up, something which the UFC seem hesitant to arrange without good reason. If Le is to win at 139, it could propel him up the ladder and towards contention, and far beyond the left hook of Leben. A loss would also not sit correctly, due to MMath of Leben-Silva-Le. But hey, when has that ever worked?
Another name that, when paired with Leben would create an incredible match-up would be Alan Belcher. Belcher was on an absolute tear before being sidelined with a career-threatening eye injury, but has picked up where he left off with an impressive win over Jason McDonald. A win over Leben would solidify his status as a contender. Again, this would mean a winner vs loser match-up, although with Belcher being slightly further down the ladder with regards to title contention, this could be a more likely fight to be made.
Finally, a name that could be considered in the future, dependant upon December 3rd, is that of Jason 'Mayhem' Miller - whilst a win would effectively place him 'in the mix' - a loss could mean a match-up with 'The Crippler.' Miller is a great asset to bring casual fans to watch a PPV, and that coupled with a fighter with endless highlight reel KO's and a name already known to those same fans could provide high levels of interest, and big numbers for PPV buys if placed on a stacked card.
Jason 'Mayhem' Miller vs Chris 'The Crippler' Leben - a fight that could be made based on another loss that I really don't want to see happen.
But hey - sometimes these things happen in MMA.
(Just to let you guys know - this is my first post on the website - so try not to pick it apart too much. Or do. You vultures.)