by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
After requesting a release from the UFC earlier this year, middleweight Dean Lister will look to go back to his roots. The California native has been invited to compete in this year’s Abu Dhabi grappling tournament as confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by the fighter’s management team at Haymaker’s Empire.
Lister is a former Abu Dhabi champion, winning the Absolute Divisional championship in 2003 and then returning to the tournament to win super fights in 2003 and 2005.
While it has not been decided which weight class Lister will compete in, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former U.S. Sambo champion is considering a move to the weight class that will be occupied by top MMA heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, who is expected in the tournament this year.
Lister commented to MMAWeekly.com that he sees Fedor as “a great challenge and would jump at the opportunity to compete against him.”
The former Abu Dhabi and King of the Cage champion will also stay in consideration for a super fight if any of this year’s competitors are unable to compete.
While nothing has been signed, Lister is also still fielding several offers to continue his MMA career. “The Boogeyman” has stated that he’s simply focused on training and improving for MMA, while working on his goal of winning the Abu Dhabi tournament this year.
Currently Lister is in Japan helping his friend, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, prepare for his upcoming bout in Sengoku, before returning home to focus on his next step in the MMA or grappling world.