After more than a decade of fighting MMA as a professional, The Ultimate Fighter season 1 veteran Chris Leben (22-11) has announced his retirement. Leben made the announcement on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. UFC fans may recall Leben quit on his stool between rounds following a brutal first round against Uriah Hall at UFC 168 back in December.
The loss marked Leben’s fourth straight defeat. Before making any rash decisions about his future right then and there though, “The Crippler” wanted to mull it over:
“After [UFC 168], I wanted to go back and reevaluate things, make sure that the decision wasn’t based purely on emotion. That it was really what I wanted to do. And now, yes, I can say, I’ve really retired from competing in MMA.”
Along with acknowledging that guys like Hall are a different level of athlete than himself, Leben, who was always known for his heart, toughness, and ability to take a few to give a few, is also concerned for his long-term health:
“I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. I would like to still have my head on my shoulders and have a brain when I’m raising kids and doing all the other stuff that I want to be part of. I think it might just be time for me to gracefully bow out.”
Fighting at middleweight, Leben had 22 fights inside the UFC Octagon, going 12-10. In 2005 Leben began his UFC career winning six straight bouts, but he would never be able to get back on that type of streak again, though he did win three in a row in 2010.
Now 33-years-old Leben said he will focus on coaching and could not see himself fighting for a smaller organization after leaving the UFC.