UFC star Lytle ready to show off for the hometown crowd
Chris Lytle is Indianapolis.
He was born here, in 1974, and grew to love the city and its inhabitants. He chose to stay home after high school at Southport, attending Indiana University. And after a long career as a professional fighter, Lytle hits the big stage this Saturday night to show his friends, his family and his hometown what the biggest fight promotion in the world feels like.
"It's just a dream come true to get the UFC to come to your home town. I've been fighting for about 12 or 13 years and there's never been anything like this here. I know a lot of people from this state like fighting, but all they usually know is something they see on TV," Lytle says. "To actually get to be here and feel the real energy is going to be pretty awesome for them. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
When asked how many people will show up to support him, Lytle says he's hoping for a unanimous effort.
"Hopefully every one of them. I'm hoping there are about 15,000 people there just to see me," he says with a laugh.
The best part of fighting in your hometown is waking up in your own bed. Instead of taking up a seven-day residence at a local hotel, you're staying at home and making your own decisions. You're not assaulted by fans every time you decide to enter or leave your room. Instead of assuming the frenetic schedule of a fight week in Las Vegas, you're free to pace yourself, to keep the storm at a manageable level.
"It's good to not have to be out there and go to a different environment. I'm here and I'm comfortable. All the people I train with are here, so it makes it much easier. It's a home-court advantage and I think it will definitely help me out," he says.
Long-time fans of the sport know that Lytle's name on any card means that you're probably going to see some great action. After every event, the UFC brass hands out large checks to fighters they believe worthy of attention. They are handed to guys who have exciting fights or memorable finishes, and Lytle is the undisputed king of these bonuses. He has earned seven bonus checks throughout his UFC career -- four Fight of the Night awards, two Submission of the Night awards and one Knockout of the Night awards.
All of this makes him one of the UFC's go-to guys when it comes to exciting fights, but it also leaves him susceptible to close losses. Lytle tends to work for the fans instead of the judges. If there's a choice to be made between riding out a decision victory or going for the finish, Lytle will always choose the latter. It's in his blood. He simply cannot see himself as one of those guys who view fighting as pure sport and nothing more.
His opponent on Saturday night agrees.
"You're not going to find a bigger fan of Chris Lytle than me. I always watch his fights. He's exciting. He's the kind of guy that, when he's on the card, you know it's going to be an exciting fight," Serra says. "I'm ready for a battle. I'm not ready for a fight, because you don't have a fight with Chris Lytle. You have a battle with him. That's what I'm looking for."
Lytle says Serra is in for a rude awakening if he thinks he's in for a good time.
"I think most people know this is not a fun fight for him because it's a dangerous fight without too much to gain. I definitely feel it's going to be a good fight for me," he says.