Apparently Wanderlei Silva is now a match maker in the UFC. After publicly asking for a Chris Leben fight and turning down two proposed fights, the Axe Murderer gets his wish. Chris Leben vs. Wanderlei Silva is now official for UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber.
This fight is a bit of a surprise after all of the recent back and forth between UFC president Dana White and MMA veteran Wanderlei Silva. Silva recently turned down proposed fights with Brian Stann and Vitor Belfort. Silva began begging for a fight against Chris Leben on Twitter. Dana White finally broke and said he wasn’t interested in making Silva vs. Leben.
[adinserter block=”2″]”We asked him to take [a fight with Stann], and he turned it down,” White said. “He said, ‘I don’t like it because everybody likes this guy.’ That’s kind of a weird philosophy, but I’ll accept that. Wanderlei’s a warrior. He always goes out there. So we offered him the Vitor fight, and now he’s on Twitter lobbying to fight Chris Leben,” White said.
Wanderlei Silva tweeted, “I think with chris Leben I go have a tuff figth him is good opponent,he want and I want lets go figth”. Additionally, Silva retweeted numerous tweets from MMA fans who agreed with him and want the UFC to make the Silva vs. Leben fight. Dana White didn’t appear to be interested.
Dana White wasn’t interested. “I don’t want him to fight Chris Leben, I want him to fight Vitor Belfort.”
Well something happened in the last several weeks to change the boss’ mind. UFC officials announced Leben vs. Silva this week. The fight will go down as one of the featured battles at UFC 132 on July 2 in Las Vegas, NV. This probably takes the two of them out of the running to coach The Ultimate Fighter season 14. Silva and Leben were both rumored to be coaches. The leading candidates right now appear to be Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping.
The fight itself has great potential. Both of these guys are strikers and are always looking to brawl. I really can’t think of a more entertaining matchup for either fighter at this point than the one the fans will see at UFC 132. Between the two of them, the fighters have a combined 36 knockouts on their MMA records.
Wanderlei is coming off a very long layoff. Silva hasn’t fought since February of 2010 in a fight that saw him squeeze out a decision win over Michael Bisping. I don’t think Wanderlei needs a win here as badly as another fighter would with his UFC record. As long as Wanderlei continues to bring it, I think he sticks around in the UFC until he retires win, lose, or draw.
[adinserter block=”1″]Chris Leben on the other hand is coming off his first loss in four fights. Leben was red hot in 2010 going 3-0, including two big wins in less than a month over Aaron Simpson and Yoshihiro Akiyama. Leben had a ton of momentum and was in the mix for a title shot when Brian Stann dropped him back in January. Leben and his coaches claimed that Leben was sick during the Stann fight and had a fever and chills before the fight.
Leben vs. Silva enhances the star studded UFC 132: Faber vs. Cruz which features Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz in the main event for the UFC bantamweight championship and Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader on the undercard.
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