Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting
Twenty-fight UFC veteran Chris Lytle is currently almost 18-months into his retirement, and he still hasn't moved on from the thought of competing in mixed martial arts (MMA) once again. While Lytle has not committed either way to fighting again or staying retired, he did say in a recent interview he would be willing to take a fight on short notice against a ‘Nick Diaz type guy.'
But just because you haven't heard from him in the media doesn't mean you should count out a return to action for "Lights Out."
Lytle (31-18-5) is one of very few fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) who decided to hang up the gloves on top, as the 38-year-old closed out his Octagon career with victories in five of his final six UFC bouts.
Outside of winning a UFC championship, Lytle accomplished it all in the sport and no one could argue his decision to walk away. Even with nothing left to prove, that itch for competition still remains for the 12-year veteran of the sport and Lytle tells Middle Easy that while he is no longer training full-time, he would jump at the opportunity if UFC matchmakers called and offered the right fight.
"You know, there always is [an interest in fighting again] and it never really left me, but the reason I kinda retired was I just wasn't putting in enough time in the family and I just can't commit myself to that kind of training anymore where I'm gone at all times every time, so, you never know. I always say if maybe something came up with a guy I want to fight, something happens to his opponent like a week out I might take that, so that could happen. Barring that? No I'm not, I'm not going to go back to training full time."
With Lytle's history as one of the most exciting fighters the UFC has ever seen, the right match up could be almost anyone for the Indiana native, who racked up 10 career post-fight bonuses and over half a million in extra cash during his time with the organization.
Should a hypothetical return to competition take place, Lytle would obviously prefer to fight an opponent who matches up with him stylistically -- former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz or former interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit are two fighters who perk Lytle's interest.
"No, I don't really care about [it being a title fight], it's more about the type of person, you know I want - there's a few guys, you know man like a Nick Diaz type guy who, I like Nick I wouldn't really want to fight him, but maybe something like who, I like the way he comes forward to fight you, to punch you in the face and take you go out and just go the whole time and doesn't really care about a decision. That's the way I am, so, guys like that, you know, I always like the way certain guys like that fight. Maybe like a Carlos Condit, something like that those type of fights interest me. But, you know, those are kind of big fights that I don't see happening unless their opponent pulls out at the last minute and they need somebody."
Lytle and Diaz fought once before at IFC WC 17 in July of 2002. Diaz walked away with the unanimous decision victory that night and over 10 years later and with two much more developed skillsets, a Lytle vs. Diaz rematch would certainly be a fascinating match up.
Clearly Diaz has bigger fish to fry, though, as he is currently scheduled to challenge Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship at UFC 158 in March, but who knows what could happen down the road.
Many believe Lytle's retirement, while understandable, was premature and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 4 runner-up had more fights left in him. While it seems Lytle is content with no longer getting punched in the head for money, he admittedly still has the thirst compete, which means seeing him in the cage again isn't unrealistic.
If Lytle ever does make his way back into the Octagon, who would you like to see him compete against? Or do you even want to see him fight again?
Let us know in the comments section below!