by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
In the swirling waters of today’s mixed martial arts landscape, MMAWeekly has learned that Dean Lister is the latest fighter to join UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture’s camp and is planning a return to the Octagon as part of the UFC’s Dec. 29 event.

According to Lister’s manager, Jerry Villasenor, no opponent has been named yet for Lister’s return bout. He did say that Lister would like to face the winner of the Oct. 20 middleweight title bout between Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva that is slated to take place in Cincinnati.

Lister lost his last bout by unanimous decision to Nate Marquardt earlier this year, however, so it is unlikely that the UFC would give him an immediate title shot upon his return.

Regardless, Lister, regarded as one of the top grappler’s in the world today, is currently in Croatia training with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to improve his standup and to help Cro Cop with his ground game.

He will be in the corner of the former Croatian police officer when Cro Cop attempts to rebound from a knockout loss at the foot of Gabriel Gonzaga. Cro Cop faces French kickboxer Cheick Kongo Sept. 8 at UFC 75 in London.

Upon his return to the United States, Lister, now an official part of Xtreme Couture, will not only be training as part of the team, but is also the head instructor and part owner of a new 21,000 sq. ft. Xtreme Couture gym in San Diego. His partners are aforementioned manager Villasenor and majority owner Ivan Kountchev, who along with Alpha Flex, are sponsors of Lister’s.

The head boxing coach of Xtreme Couture San Diego, says Villasenor, is Rob Garcia, the boxing coach for both Oscar De La Hoya and Diego Sanchez. Lister will be training with Garcia as part of his preparations for the Dec. 29 bout.

Lister recently finished shooting a 2-hour long documentary on mixed martial arts with Randy Couture, Bas Rutten and Tito Ortiz called Fight Science 2, which should air on the National Geographic Channel in about two months.