The Crippler is back. Chris Leben signs with Bellator.
Today, Bellator announced that they inked Chris Leben to a contract. Leben, who hasn’t won a fight since the summer of 2011, previously retired in 2014, saying that he wanted to make sure he had a head still on its shoulders and a brain, while raising his kids.
Leben’s best known for being on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and helping launch that show as a success. Many turn to the Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin fight as a major turning point for the UFC (and it was), but it was Leben’s conflict with Josh Koscheck and Bobby Southworth that really kicked the show into high gear.
Leben came into the UFC off the first TUF season as a young star. He won his first four fights on early UFC Fight Night cards (he actually fought on the first six of them) until he was thrown into the wolves against Anderson Silva in his UFC debut. Leben was about a .500 fighter from that point on, but scored big wins against Yoshihiro Akiyama and famously knocked out Wanderlei Silva in the first round at UFC 132.
Bellator’s press release is below. Continue reading
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The fight was quite a surprise. Check out Golden Boy’s Canelo vs Khan announcement video.
From Bellator – Benson Henderson gets immediately title shot.
That sure didn’t take long. With the signing of Benson Henderson, Bellator all of a sudden has someone with star power who isn’t either a gimmick, or someone terribly past their prime. While Henderson may not at the top of his game, he’s still very close to it.
He’s 2-0 in his last two fights, including beating Brandon Thatch in his UFC welterweight debut in 2015, less than one month after losing to Donald Cerrone in a close three-round fight.
He’s been on UFC TV for nearly five years and has a nice fanbase who will follow him to watch him fight. So putting him in an immediate title fight is probably the right move.
He will face current champion Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 153 on April 22.
Here’s Bellator’s press release: Continue reading