Chris Leben talks UFC 116 bout with Yoshiyuki Akiyama

UFC heavy hitter, Chris Leben reveals there was no way he was turning down the UFC’s offer to step in for the injured Wanderlei Silva against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116 in Las Vegas, Nevada, admitting at the same time he doesn’t know much about the Japanese fighter.

Leben, speaking via BJPenn.com, said:

“The UFC called me and they said Wanderlei was hurt and they want me to fight Akiyama. You know, I had a great showing on Saturday night, I left Vegas early, didn’t go out and party, hopped on the first flight home and I got the call the next day. I figured, ‘Hey, I’m still in great shape, I’m not hurt, a couple bumps and bruises but nothing bad’. With this opportunity, there was just no way I could turn down this opportunity it’s just huge.”

“At first I said no because I woke up in the morning, my phone was ringing and I was sore and it doesn’t make sense to take a fight when you’re not prepared and training for it. But then as I thought about it, you know, I’m a fighter, this is what I do. Why would I not take a great opportunity? It would be stupid of me. Not to mention that but I want to be a company man with the UFC, I want them to be happy with me.”

“I don’t know a ton about Akiyama. My coach knows a bunch, but we haven’t even had a chance to talk much about our game plan. I saw him fight Alan Belcher and to be honest with you, I thought he lost that fight. He’s a good Judo guy, he’s got great Judo, fast kicks, maybe not the most power in the world. He’s a little bit shorter than me but he’s a good strong guy. I think that utilizing my skills, keeping it on the feet and clubbing him in the head with my left shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”

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