by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When the official card for UFC 92 in Las Vegas was announced, the middleweight bout between Dean Lister and Yushin Okami was conspicuously left off the main card despite the fact that many are seeing this bout as a de facto No. 1 contenders match to challenge champion Anderson Silva in the future.
Currently sporting a 4-1 record in the UFC, Lister has been working hard to get to a title shot and he’s hoping that his fight with Okami gets noticed, but has no ill will towards the promotion for the fight not currently being slated for the pay-per-view broadcast.
“Well, as a fighter you always want to be on TV and especially when you are hearing people saying this is pretty much a No. 1 contender’s match,” Lister told MMAWeekly.com. “I know that Joe Silva and Dana (White) are the best at putting the best fights out there and I know that a lot of buzz is beginning to generate about our fight, so I hope that catches there attention. Maybe somebody should start an online poll.”
The bout between C.B. Dollaway and Mike Massenzio got the main card nod, which seems to be the fight most are questioning getting the spot in front of the Okami vs. Lister fight. Despite the bump down to the preliminary card, Lister also says he has nothing against those fighters either.
“No, not at all,” Lister replied when asked if there was any bad feelings towards Dollaway and Massenzio. “I mean, if I was them and my fight was scheduled to be on the main card of the biggest UFC event of the year, I would be excited too. I just think people know that Yushin and I are closer to fighting for Anderson’s title and, like I said before, you always want to see people watch you get to the top.”
The logical progression after the fight with Okami and Lister is the winner could land a shot against Silva for the middleweight title, and the former Abu Dhabi champion sees this match-up as a great opportunity to get to the top.
“I think Yushin and I are both in the top five of the UFC’s middleweight division. We have both only lost once and it was via decision, so I believe the winner should definitely be considered for a shot at the title,” Lister stated. “Either way I’m going to let Anderson know he has me waiting for him.”
He makes no bones about whom he wants to fight if he can get past Okami.
“I will call Anderson out the moment my arm is raised. Joe Rogan won’t even be able to ask me to comment on the replay,” Lister said. “I will fight whoever the UFC puts in front of me, but I would be crazy to say I don’t want to fight for the title. He is a great champion and a great ambassador and that is the reason I want to fight him and take the title. You’ve got to beat the best to be the best.”
If there is a positive to take away from the fight being put on the preliminary card, Lister feels it is the motivation to make his fight with Okami the best fight fans could see that night.
“I’m really hoping the fight will be moved up. As far as putting on a show, that’s going to happen regardless,” Lister commented. “I would like to thank my management, Haymakers Empire and my sponsor Tapout, because on Dec. 27 at UFC 92 that’s what I am bringing, haymakers and tapouts!”