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Chris Leben 'Making History' With 2-Week Layoff for UFC 116



Although the UFC doesn't have an official record book, Chris Leben is believed to be on his way to setting a new UFC record on Saturday night at UFC 116, fighting on only two weeks off for the shortest layoff ever since the UFC stopped having one-night tournaments.

Leben, who beat Aaron Simpson on June 19 and then agreed to fill in for the injured Wanderlei Silva against Yoshihiro Akiyama on July 3, says it's a source of pride to him that he could do something no UFC fighter has ever done before.

"The total is 14 days," Leben told Fighters Only, via Zach Arnold. "It's two Saturdays, so I fought one Saturday, I get one off, and now I'm fighting next Saturday. So it's pretty crazy."

Last year Anthony Johnson fought at both UFC 104 and UFC 106, which were only four weeks apart. But Leben is cutting Johnson's layoff in half.

"It's never happened in the UFC," Leben said. "So, it's pretty exciting, we're making history."

Leben said that when UFC matchmaker Joe Silva first contacted him about taking the fight with Akiyama, he was lukewarm about it. But Silva and UFC President Dana White eventually convinced him.

"I just got home from my fight," Leben said. "I got home on Sunday, ate a large pizza, watched a movie with my girlfriend, passed out. I woke up and Joe Silva's on my phone. So at first thing I was like, oh my body was hurting, I said, you know I don't know if it's a good idea, you know, da da da. A couple of minutes later, Dana called me back and they really wanted me to take the fight and actually after I woke up I started to think about it and I mean I'm a fighter, this is what I do. Right now is my time. I'm healthy, I'm not hurt. We only have a small window in this sport, so I'd be a fool not to capitalize on this opportunity."

Whether you like Leben or not -- and plenty of fans don't, dating all the way back to the way he acted when he was on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter -- you can't dispute that he's displaying a great attitude as he enters this fight. And he's also displaying a great mental approach to his fight, saying he quickly started to formulate a game plan as soon as he agreed to fight Akiyama.

"His stand-up is pretty tricky," Leben said of Akiyama. "I don't think he hits the hardest in the world, but definitely poses some different threats than Aaron Simpson. I think that he's going to have fast kicks, he's going to be a little bit trickier, a little bit more crafty in the ring but he's not going to have near the caliber of wrestling."

Still, Leben said he thinks he can take advantage of some of Akiyama's weaknesses, including the fact that Akiyama -- a former Asian Games gold medalist in judo -- seems uncomfortable when he's trying to grapple without wearing a gi.

"I don't know how much of judo necessarily carries over," Leben said. "A lot of judo is throws and a lot of those throws rely solely on the gi. As a matter of fact in a lot of his fights he actually wore a gi back in the day in Japan. We don't have a gi, we're sweaty and I'm punching him in the face. The game changes, sure."

Whether he wins or loses on Saturday night, Leben will have changed the game himself -- becoming the first person in the UFC to fight, take just two weeks off, and then fight again.