If Chris Lytle didn't ride off into the sunset, he sure as hell came close.
Very few, like Randy Couture, get to go out on their terms and even less get to not only go out on their own terms but go out with a huge crowd-pleasing victory that leaves fans begging for more.
Chris Lytle called it quits after last night's (August 14, 2011) UFC on Versus 5 main event against Dan Hardy, but not without first capturing not one, but two fight night bonuses in a perfect fairy tale ending to his scintillating career.
I'll detail how he earned both and what happens next below:
Lytle made it very obvious that despite his advantages on the ground, he was going to stand and bang for a full 15 minutes if need be. This was proven when he caught a leg kick from "The Outlaw" and tossed him to the canvas and didn't even think about following the Brit down to the ground.
Instead, he repeatedly went to work with a lead left jab and hook as well as a monster overhand right that repeatedly connected to Hardy's skull. "Lights Out" was also working some serious body strikes that had to have worn down his UK foe by the end of the fight.
Hardy fought back in round two, tagging Lytle and stumbling him a couple of times and Lytle still refused to go to the ground, instead clinching only long enough to clear the cobwebs and throw a huge bomb of a punch on the exit. When Hardy hurt Lytle the second time, instead of smelling blood and going for the kill, he inexplicably shot in for a takedown. Why? Chris Lytle was the superior ground fighter. That's a question only Dan Hardy can answer.
Finally, in the third round, Hardy simply couldn't land with consistency. He was too keen on trying to land a perfect counter left hook but Lytle was on to his game and was exiting from his attacks with proper angles. Then, in a moment that will likely be scrutinized, analyzed and mocked for many years to come, "The Outlaw" shot in with a takedown headfirst into a Chris Lytle guillotine choke.
Lytle wrapped his left arm around Hardy's neck, rolled over into full mount and squeezed with all his might until the brawling Brit was forced to tap or take a nap.
For Dan Hardy, this fight was everything he'd ever asked for and he still couldn't win. Not only was he facing a man seven years his elder, but also a fighter who guaranteed he was going to stand with him. And not only did Chris Lytle stand with him, but he stayed standing even when he was hurt and when huge glaring opportunities were there to take the fight to the ground. Despite being handed the perfect fight on a silver platter, he still couldn't deliver.
In all honesty, Lorenzo Fertitta should reconsider his rash decision to keep Hardy around despite four straight losses because he "goes to WAR!" Honestly, this is the fourth straight fight where Dan Hardy has looked awful. Keeping him around just doesn't make sense. The only possible match-ups for him right now would be someone like T.J. Waldburger, James Wilks or the equally unimpressive UFC on Versus 5 main-carder Amir Sadollah.
For Chris Lytle, Hollywood couldn't have scripted that ending any better. He gets to take his $500,000+ in fight night bonuses alone that he's accumulated over the past four years and invest them in his kids' college funds, maybe even his upcoming political campaign in Indiana. I'm sure he won't have any problems winning over the 18-34 male demographic. Now that he's retired, he's got a great inaugural campaign photo as well. Congratulations on a great career.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Do you wish more fighters would go out like Chris Lytle? What do you think about Lorenzo Fertitta's instant decision to keep Dan Hardy around? Will "The Outlaw" ever get back on track?