Thursday, March 1, 2007


By Mike Doyle

Indiana Native Face Former UFC Champion Matt Hughes Saturday

The last time Chris Lytle fought under the bright lights of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in November, he suffered one of the toughest losses of his career. The Indianapolis-based firefighter lost a split decision to Matt Serra (7-4) on the season four finale of “The Ultimate Fighter – The Comeback,” which dropped his record to a dismal 2-5 inside the famed Octagon.

After an impressive showing during the reality series on Spike TV, Lytle (22-13-5) advanced to the finals following victories over Pete Spratt (15-7) and Din Thomas (19-6). Unfortunately, the UFC veteran missed his chance to fight for the welterweight title.

“I felt like I was doing a little more than him [Serra] to win; when I was landing stuff and he wasn’t, I felt like I was winning,” recalls the 32 year old. “I thought I did enough to win. I guess it just depends on what they [judges] were looking for.”

The nod to Serra lit much discussion, while Lytle was criticized for his cautious approach throughout the fight. It seemed as though “Lights Out” was focused on not losing the bout, rather then trying to win it.

Regardless, the father of four children is not bothered if people didn’t feel his fight with Serra was exciting, as his primary concern has always been providing for his family.

“One person in that fight was getting a few thousand dollars, the other one was going to get about two hundred and fifty [thousand],” says Lytle. “I could care less if people liked the fight at all; I’ll do whatever it takes to win about two hundred and fifty thousand if the other guy is going to win five [thousand].”

In spite of the final outcome, Lytle’s time on the reality show was still a positive experience. He had the opportunity to be around and train with other professional fighters for six weeks, which provided invaluable insight into various training regimes.

“I’ve definitely changed the way I come into a fight and I prepare a lot different now,” explains Lytle. “I’m doing plyometrics and different weight lifting routines that I wasn’t doing before.”

At this Saturday’s UFC 68 in Columbus, Ohio, Lytle faces former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes (40-5) in another bout that could turn around his career – a consolation prize of sorts while Serra prepares to face champion St. Pierre in April.

“It’s a pretty good match-up for me,” Lytle noted. “I know he’s coming off a loss and he will be hungry but I’m coming off the toughest loss of my life, so I’m pretty fired up myself.”

Hughes will be looking to use “The Ultimate Fighter” runner-up as a stepping stone for another shot at current champion Georges St. Pierre. Yet, it’s worth noting that during St. Pierre’s title winning performance over Hughes in November, the French-Canadian’s superior striking skills proved to be the difference that night.

As a professional boxer with 15 fights to his credit, Lytle would certainly welcome the chance to trade strikes with Hughes.

“I’m really hoping he chooses to stand [with me],” Lytle said. “My gut feeling is he won’t, he tried that last time [against St. Pierre] and the results were disastrous, so he’ll probably try to take me down.”

In any event, with Hughes having been the champion for a good portion of the Indiana native’s career, the opportunity to challenge one of the greatest competitors in MMA history isn’t lost on Lytle.

“It’s always been a fight I’ve wanted and just to get the opportunity, I’m really excited about it,” he said.

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