It's been over a year since the UFC
has staged a show in the UK. As is customary when the promotion parks the octagon on British land, fans bought tickets in droves. According to managing director of international development for the UFC Marshall Zelaznik, the organization has already been informed that UFC 138 will break the all-time gate record for the LG Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night.
Still, there have been some complaints about the card. There are no title matches, no No. 1 contender matches, and no former champions spotlighted.
All main-event participants Chris Leben
and Mark Munoz
can do about that is put on a show of their own, and at Thursday press conference, both agreed that anyone watching won't be disappointed.
"You guys have a main event you're not going to have to worry about," said Leben, who is known for his always aggressive, often reckless style. "Sometimes we put these main events together because they're names, and it sucks. We're going to get in there and we're going to do it. I promise you a great show."
Munoz echoed those thoughts.
"He throws bombs, and I throw bombs, so bombs away," he said.
Both Munoz (11-2) and Leben (22-7) have performed well over the last two years. Munoz has captured six of his last seven bouts, most recently defeating Demian Maia
in June. And Leben, a winner of four of his last five, is coming off a 27-second knockout of Wanderlei Silva.
Leben said that because the two enter the fight with so much recent success, the winner deserves to be the No. 1 contender. That's not likely, especially with Chael Sonnen
campaigning for a rematch with Anderson Silva
. But Leben said for the sake of the fans, he's just the type of fighter that should be fighting for the belt.
"I've been watching a lot of fights lately where the champs, they seem to ...maybe it's just me, but it seems like they're fighting not to lose," he said. "For myself, I'd quit if that's what I start doing. I fight to win, I fight to finish my opponent. I don't fight to not lose. And that's what you're going to see."
Munoz has had the experience of facing southpaws before, but he probably hasn't faced anyone with the punching power and fearlessness of Leben. Munoz said he's blessed to have lots of lefties in his camp, and he's also studied a lot of tape in preparation of the fight. Everything to be ready. Everything to put on a good show.
"We want to be the best, and I definitely want to be the best," Munoz said. "I'm getting closer and closer, and this is one of the steps to get there, so I'm definitely going to take it."