All Around Nice Guy
Well good to hear. I wonder what the UFC gave him... probably an immediate shot at wanderlei and if he wins a number 1 contender fight. Thats my guess anyway.Fear not UFC fans; you'll get your required dose of "Sexyama" in July.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the promotion that despite some initial resistance to facing a new opponent, Japanese judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has indeed agreed to face Chris Leben (20-6 MMA, 10-5 UFC) at next week's UFC 116 event in Las Vegas.
Akiyama had expressed some concern with the the late change of opponent, as Leben was selected earlier this week to replace initial foe Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) after "The Axe Murderer" was forced to bow out due to injury.
According to the U.K.-based Fighters Only magazine, Akiyama told Korean MMA blog Daum.net that he might elect to withdraw from the event rather than face Leben.
"I am not pleased with the change," the report stated. "There are just 10 days left until the contest for me to determine [Leben’s] threats and the time is insufficient to establish a tailored gameplan. Leben is also not as high-profile as [Wanderlei] Silva and that does not help me.
"If there is to be a replacement, I was hoping for a big name. I spent one year preparing hard for this fight and this news has come as a big disappointment. My motivation has waned. I do not know yet what will happen. ... In the worst case, I will not take part in the [UFC 116] event. We are working hard to resolve this issue."
While it's not immediately known what, if anything, was needed to persuade Akiyama, the sources indicated to MMAjunkie.com that the UFC is moving forward as planned with the Akiyama-Leben contest.
Featuring a heavyweight title unification match between current champ Brock Lesnar and interim title-holder Shane Carwin, "UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin" takes place July 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs live on pay-per-view.