With three stoppage wins in his last three fights and coming off back-to-back victories over experienced opponents in the shape of Rodolfo Marquez and Takeshi Inoue, there is no question that Australian featherweight Rob Lisita is in the finest form of his career.
The 30 year old, who has won six of his last seven fights, signed with ONE FC late last year and is hoping to make his promotional debut in April. Lisita still has no idea who his opponent will be but he knows what sort of stylistic match-up he is looking for.
"I wanna fight guys like me that like to scrap, guys like Eric Kelly, Honorio Banario, Harris Sarmiento and Koji Oishi these are the fighters that are gonna meet me in the center of the cage and go toe-to-toe. Then again against me I think they will run. I wanna have the fights I'd like to watch, I don't want guys that'll run or try to hug me, I wanna fight."
It's fighting talk from Lisita who already has experience of competing in Asia, having earned a title shot with Legend FC and submitted Inoue with a bulldog choke in the main event of upstart Singaporean promotion Rebel FC's first ever show last December.
There was competition for his signature with multiple promotions including the UFC and Bellator offering a contract to a fighter currently ranked as Australia's top featherweight, but he says there were a number of factors behind his final choice.
"The ONE FC rule set is great is truly is as real as it gets and I want to fight at least four times a year and ONE FC can provide that for me. Matt Hume is a former fighter with a great wealth of MMA experience so the match ups he makes are always exciting and Victor Cui is a great guy, they both show a sense of understanding that we are in this together. Since joining ONE FC I've been made to feel I joined a family."
The reigning ONE FC champion is Koji Oishi who gained the belt and then defended it with back-to-back wins over Honorio Banario. Lisita is hoping to rise rapidly through the ranks and secure a title shot and likes the idea of being matched up with a Japanese veteran who also had a successful stint with Legend FC.
"A fight with Koji Oishi excites me a lot to be honest. He is a well rounded, experienced fighter who is willing trade punches and is comfortable wherever the fight takes place. We share similarities but I think he would run from me, I don't think he would have the courage to sit in the pocket with me. I'm younger, I'm more powerful and I'm more hungry, It's my time. He needs a new challenge and I think I deserve a shot now but I will beat whoever ONE FC put in front of me until my time comes."
While Lisita is unlikely to be granted an immediate title shot, he does have a fairly shrewd idea of when and where he will be making his ONE FC debut.
"I am waiting on confirmation of opponent and exact date, but it'll be in Manila in April. I'm ready to go anytime so if I'm needed for KL I'll be there."
After competing on some smaller scale shows in Asia and Australia it looks like April will be Lisita's first foray into the major mixed martial arts (MMA) limelight and he feels the timing could not have come better.
"I'm the best I've ever been, I'm in the prime of my life. I'm finally doing all the right things in my life to be at my best. I have a great family, the best team at Phuket Top Team. I am a full time fighter now and I'm not taking this opportunity for granted. I know in a fight anything can happen, but I know that I have the ability to beat any featherweight in the world."
With six wins in his last seven fights, Lisita is understandably confident and he thinks that fight fans who might not be familiar with him are going to appreciate his all action style.
"My nickname 'Ruthless' is not a gimmick, it's how I fight. I go forward and drag my opponents into a dog fight. I love to scrap and finish my opponents. There's no safe place in a fight against me, whether we're at range, in the clinch or on the ground, I have the ability to hurt my opponents and finish the fight."
The April ONE FC fight would be the fourth in Asia for Lisita who spends much of the year training at Phuket Top Team in Thailand. He could easily have found himself competing stateside, had he decided to accept the offers from Bellator or the UFC, but having got into MMA after watching PRIDE, he is happy right where he is,
"I love fighting in Asia, PRIDE FC is what gave me the desire to become a professional fighter. I didn't suddenly become a fighter, I've always been one, and the Asian fans see that and l think they like that about me I think. I'd be happy to fight the rest of my career in Asia."