by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
So close and yet so far away… that has been the summation of Chris Lytle’s UFC career thus far. It is also something that he plans to change when he steps in the cage tonight.
Lytle recently joined MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio to discuss tonight’s welterweight TUF 4 Finale fight with Matt Serra and his feelings about his own title shot if he wins. Lytle joined the guys live from Las Vegas where his months of tough training are finally coming to an end.
Chris said, “Things are going great, you know. I’m just kind of doing my fine-tuning stuff right now…my hard training is done. I’m just trying to make sure that my timing is down pat, and everything like that.”
Because of TUF 4, Lytle has had more of an opportunity to improve on his skills than he typically does, so it will be interesting to see how this extra practice comes into play tonight.
Lytle said, “Yeah, I’ve really done as much as I could for it, you know. I know what he’s good at and what I need to work on, so I’ve been just solely preparing for that. I’ve never really had this much time to prepare for one fight, so I’ll see how that goes.”
While this season’s TUF show is titled “The Comeback,” Lytle doesn’t consider himself to be someone who was ever that far removed from the competitive mix.
Lytle said, “I don’t even really know if I’m looking to comeback…I never really felt like I was that far gone. I’ve had a couple of chances when I thought that I was close to the title fight, and one thing or another happened…I got cut or I lost a fight here and there and I didn’t get it. So, anything I can do to get me a title shot, that’s what I want.”
Lytle continued, “Oh man, it felt like every time [you lose] you think you blew your last chance at a title fight. It’s depressing…then all of the sudden you get another opportunity and you feel like man, this is my fate or my destiny, I don’t know exactly what it is. All of these things happen for a reason, and I felt like it happened just like it did so I can be in this situation that I’m in right now.”
Since Serra and Lytle were teammates while on TUF 4, it seems that they each must have a pretty good sense of which skills the other man possesses. Does Chris consider this to be an advantage…or not so much?
“I think it helps me. I feel like I’m a pretty smart fighter out there. I feel like I’m going to be pretty well prepared for the fight,” Lytle said.
Though the sacrifice seems worthwhile now, Lytle didn’t instantly see the TUF competition to be in his best interests.
Chris said, “Actually there was [hesitation] for a brief time. They told me that we’d be able to fight, you know, and we’d be able to go there and fight for them a couple of times, and have like four or five months off where you couldn’t fight. I’m thinking I didn’t know who all was going to be on the show…man there’s no guarantee, you might be out of commission for a long time, and I like to remain pretty active as a fighter. I had a lot of stuff coming up, and some pretty decent paydays coming up so I was like man I don’t know if I want to just risk everything for this show…but, you know…if you get the opportunity to fight for something like this, you don’t pass it up.”
In the end, “I kind of weighed my options and it was a pretty easy decision for me,” Lytle said.
If Lytle does beat Matt Serra on Saturday night, one thing will be certain. Chris will have his eyes glued to the Octagon in the November 18th rematch between Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre.
Chris said, “Dude, I’m going to be ringside, front row…watching, studying, taking notes, learning everything that I can.”
Before that, though, Lytle has to get through a crafty, slick veteran who is as hungry for a title shot as he is. In the past, TUF Finale’s have each proven to be extremely competitive, and Lytle doesn’t expect to see any changes in the story in this go round.
“Matt’s pretty tenacious…he’s usually trying to be on someone the whole time and I like to keep a fast pace as well, so I’m just guessing that you’re going to see a lot of action going on,” Chris said.