Chris Leben (22-12) (2-1)

MMA fighters are savages. They are the best athletes on the planet earth, and — as human beings — have an extraordinarily wide-ranging set of interests. Who are they as people? What makes them tick? What does each athlete have in common with the fans that cheer them on? This series fills in those blanks and gets to the heart of the matter, while exploring what makes your favorite fighters who they are.

Photo courtesy of Chris Leben

Chris “The Crippler” Leben is a legend. The word legend gets thrown around a lot, but he lives up to the moniker. You can call him an MMA legend, UFC legend, or just a combat sports legend.

Leben has been fighting professionally since 2002. He was on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and that is where everyone fell in love with ‘The Crippler.’

Leben went on to have a fantastic career in the UFC and will be inducted into the hall of fame at some point.

After fighting MMA professionally for 11 years, Leben announced his retirement in 2014. More than half of his wins came by finish – 12 knockouts and five submissions.

While it is rare to see fighters stay retired, and Leben is no exception. In 2018, he joined in on the bare-knuckle craze that swept the combat sports world. He beat fellow MMA veteran Phil Baroni via TKO in the first round and followed that up with another first-round knockout of Justin Baesman.

Leben also transitioned perfectly into becoming a referee. He completed Herb Dean’s mixed martial arts referee course and debuted as a ref in 2018.

“The Crippler” returns to the bare-knuckle ring against Quentin Henry at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 16: KnuckleMania on Feb. 5, 2021. This will be his retirement fight.

Here is a list of Chris Leben’s favorite things.

  • Favorite food – Steak
  • Favorite drink – Whole Milk
  • Favorite color – Red and black
  • Favorite all-time fight to watch – I love Pride fights – probably Minotauro Nogueira vs. Bob Sapp
  • Favorite knockout – Sean O’Malley had a sick one against Eddie Wineland
  • Favorite of your own fights – My fight with Otto  Olsen
  • Favorite sport to watch other than MMA – Skateboarding, and Surfing
  • Favorite submission to practice – Triangle
  • Favorite athlete – Travis Pastrana
  • Favorite movie – The Matrix series
  • Favorite TV show – Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
  • Favorite song – Seek and Destroy by Metallica
  • Favorite band or musician – The Misfits
  • Favorite animal – Monkey
  • Favorite holiday – I used to hate them all but now that I have a child, Christmas was pretty neat
  • Favorite hobby – People don’t know this about me, but I read a lot. Mostly books on spirituality, Buddhism, biohacking, and science

You can follow MMA legend Chris Leben on Twitter and Instagram.

Check out the rest of my Humanizing series.