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Chris Leben eyeing return outside UFC: 'I have been talking with some people'

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After recently completing a jail sentence, Chris Leben is preparing to return to mixed martial arts competition -- but it won't be under the UFC banner.

Former UFC middleweight Chris Leben has been actively training to get back in shape since recently completing his sentence at a California jail. Does this mean "The Crippler" is eyeing a return to mixed martial arts competition? Nothing is official, but it's a major possibility.

"Right now, I've been training full-time, a couple times a day, trying to get my body back under control," Leben told the Louder With Crowder Podcast. "I have been talking with some people, I'm not really at liberty to say anything just yet."

Leben confirmed that if and when he returns to the cage, it won't be under his former home of the UFC.

"It's not going to be the UFC. I got my letter of leaving them, whatever it's called. When you retire now, they keep you on contract for life, just to make sure you don't retire just to jump ship.

"They didn't want me either, I think they're fed up with me."

Leben (22-11) was a cast member of the original The Ultimate Fighter and racked up a total of 22 fights under the UFC banner. He stepped away from the sport in 2013 when he lost to Uriah Hall, which was his fourth-consecutive loss. Leben was known as a brawler at heart and picked up some notable victories during his lengthy Octagon tenure, including his last win over Wanderlei Silva.

Leben's career, however, was a bumpy ride, to say the least. He has tested positive for banned substances multiple times, has suffered from substance abuse, and has been arrested for DUI twice. Most recently, he was arrested for possession of an assault weapon, which was linked to a June break-in involving his ex-wife.