NEW YORK – Chris Leben has been around the fight game long enough to know that back-to-back easy fights don’t come around all that often.
So while the popular former “Ultimate Fighter 1” competitor won his Bare Knuckle FC debut os Jason Baesman at BKFC 5 in just 25 seconds, he doesn’t expect every bare-knuckle boxing venture to be a walk in the park.
Thus, when he meets Brennan Ward at BKFC 6 on June 22, he’s preparing to go all five rounds if he must.
“I kind of look at this fight much like any fight, where, it’s the hardest fight of my life,” Leben told MMA Junkie at Monday’s news conference promoting the card. “It’s the most important fight of my life. I’m coming off a quick victory. I know you never have two of those in a row, so I’m prepared for war, and I’m doing everything I can.”
Now that he’s been through the process, Leben has a better feel for prepare for a bare-knuckle bout, and says the difference between preparing for a bare-knuckle fight and an MMA bout are exactly what you’d probably expect.
“As far as what’s different than, say, an MMA camp, you know, I’m utilizing my footwork substantially more, working a lot of striking with gloves, using the pads,” Leben said. “Obviously you can’t spar very often with no gloves on, you do a lot of training, a lot of hitting, a lot of knuckle-conditioning stuff.”
“It’s similar except for obviously this is all standup, so my focus is 100 percent standup,” Leben continued. “I feel like since I’ve been able to just focus on my hands my skill level has shot through the roof. We’ve got a giant boxing program at my gym and the MMA coaches are very progressive on their striking, so I really have been trying to sharpen some new tools. I want to go out and showcase something a little different from Chris Leben.”
Leben’s win over Baesman was part of a BKFC 5 package, including the exciting main event between Artem Lobov and Jason Knight, which created quite a bit of buzz in fight circles. Leben is convinced BKFC is on to something, and that sport’s popularity will surge.
“I think this sport is going to be huge,” Leben said. “Look at the average fan, the average fight fan. I’m a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu for 20 years, when I watch the UFC and it hits the ground, I’m go ‘[expletive], you were banging it out and it was so exciting.’ Someone who hasn’t been doing jiu-jitsu for 20 years, they might not even know what’s going on on the ground. Everybody understands a fist fight, you know? You go in there and you watch two guys slugging it out, everybody knows who’s in there, who’s winning, who’s losing, what’s going on and I think it’s like all the good stuff, all the red life savers all packed into one sport.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Chris Leben expects a war in Bare Knuckle FC the second time around