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07th Apr 2019

Remember Chris Leben? Well he’s really, really good at bare-knuckle boxing

Leben's left hand is as devastating as ever

Darragh Murphy

There are few things more unpleasant to imagine than having Chris Leben’s bare knuckles driven into your head.

Leben developed into one of the most exciting fighters in UFC history after his stint on the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter.

‘The Crippler’ became one of the most memorable figures from TUF 1 due to his rivalry with Josh Koscheck and Bobby Southworth and for his openness with his personal demons, and he engaged in unforgettable battles with Yoshihiro Akiyama, Kalib Starnes and Wanderlei Silva in the Octagon after he began making a name for himself among fans.

Leben ended up fighting 21 times for the UFC before retiring in 2014. His attempt at resurrecting his MMA career under the Bellator banner never came to fruition due to health issues.

Then, last year, he jumped right on board the bizarre bare-knuckle boxing bandwagon and knocked out fellow UFC vet Phil Baroni at a World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation event but the organisation’s financial struggles meant that relationship was never going to work.

Leben went on to sign with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and made his debut this weekend. And it was as devastating as you’d expect.

‘The Crippler’ needed just 25 seconds in the ring with Justin Baseman to produce his patented dirty boxing as he grabbed the back of his opponent’s head and drove multiple uppercuts into his face before Baseman eventually had enough.

Bare-knuckle boxing continues to be a controversial subject and there remains significant concerns about its regulation or lack thereof.

But it is great to see a combat sports legend like Leben continue to earn money in the only way he knows how.