Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Chris Lytle believes he knows what the fans want. He plans on giving them just that on Sunday night (Aug. 14, 2011) when he squares off against everyone's favorite mohawk wearing Brit, Dan Hardy at UFC on Versus 5, live from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Earlier in the week, Lytle sat down with Pro MMA Radio's Larry Pepe to discuss his upcoming fight.
Lytle wants the world to know he's ready.
"I'm feeling good. My knee's acting normal. It's feeling good and strong. I'm still having some back issues, but it feels better than it has in the past. It's all been pretty positive in that aspect."
On Sunday night, "Lights Out" will take a break from fighting fires and running for public office to take on an opponent who specifically asked for him by name. Some guys get ticked off over being "called out." Not Lytle. He thinks it's great.
"I was complimented by it. Ya know, I watched him fight and, basically what happened was that he wanted to stand and trade and bang and it didn't happen. The other guy just wanted to hold him down. That's happened to me and I didn't like it. I knew what he was feeling. So when he wanted to fight me, that was, in my opinion, a credit to the way I fight. He (Hardy) thought: 'Who can I fight, who's gonna come out there and put up a fight and come after me and not think about anything else?' I was the name that popped up in his head. That's how I want to be thought of. That's what I want people to think of when they think of me as a fighter. So he asked for the fight. I think it's a great thing."
Hardy will be coming into the fight on a three-fight losing streak. Though it hasn't been officially announced, most are under the impression that Hardy will be cut from the organization if he loses. Lytle expects Hardy to come in with the desperation one would naturally feel facing such a plight.
"I think he's gonna feel like his back is against the wall and he has to come out here and perform very well, in order to keep his job. So, in my opinion, he's gonna be very desperate to win. Some people, when they fight like that, they do better and some people don't do quite as well. If I were guessing, I'd say he's gonna come out here and he's gonna do well."
When Lytle found out his fight against Hardy would be featured as the event headliner, he was flattered. He believes he owes it to the fans and the UFC to give them an exciting show. None of that "lay-and-pray" stuff.
"Well, my goal right now is not necessarily to go out there and do whatever it takes for the victory. I've let that be known since the first time I fought. My goal is to go out there and end the fight as soon as possible. That being said, I'd like to do that, but, at the same time, I feel a great sense of honor that they (UFC) have made us the main event. We're both coming off losses, but they're saying, 'hey, this is a good card and we're gonna have you guys headline.' That means that they feel that people want to see us fight. I know they (the fans) don't wanna see a boring fight. So whatever's gonna happen...I'm gonna make it exciting."
Hardy has a reputation for having heavy hands. Lytle, a former professional boxer, is no slouch on his feet either. He commented on the advantages he feels he will hold over his opponent.
"Technically, with his (Hardy's) boxing, he might be a little crisper in certain aspects, but I do that intentionally. I've taken a long time to craft my arts. That's my advantage. I don't do it the same as other people. I'm doing that for a reason. He may look a little bit more technical on paper, but I think that's to my advantage. I feel like I do have an advantage on the ground but I'm sure he's been working on that (his ground game) for a long time. I'm sure he's been training with some really good guys. He's down there with Roy Nelson and those guys in Las Vegas. One thing you can tell, that we saw when he fought Georges St. Pierre, is that he's hard to submit. You can put him in some really good stuff and he's gonna fight and get out of it."
Step up to the mic, Maniacs! Will Lytle cement his legacy as "the most interesting man in the world" with a victory on Sunday night? Or do you think Hardy will be able to get back on track with a much needed win?