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UFC 116 Open Workout Interviews: Chris Leben & Yoshihiro Akiyama

Video highlights of Chris Leben and Yoshihiro Akiyama at the UFC 116 open workouts courtesy of MMA Fighting.

Yoshihiro Akiyama says he was initially reluctant to accept Chris Leben as his opponent because Leben isn’t nearly as big of a name as Wanderlei Silva in Japan.

“I’m very familiar with Chris’ popularity in the States, but compared to Wanderlei overseas, [Wanderlei] is a much more bigger name in Korea and Japan,” he said through an interpreter. “For me, to improve the popularity of MMA in Japan is one of my goals as well, and to do that, that’s a lesser name. That’s where I stood.”

“It was a 50/50 decision,” he said. “It just got to a point where I’m not going to do it for myself, but for the fans and everybody else. So that’s how I decided to take the fight.”

“Whether it’s a submission or knockout, I want to win decisively,” he said. “And also, I want the people of Japan to see that I’m doing my best and fighting hard. And win decisively. That’s basically what I’m after.”

After the jump, Chris Leben talks to Fighters Only about the two week turnaround between his TUF 11 Finale fight and this one.

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