Friday, April 25, 2008

Exclusive: Chris Lytle 'UFC 86 & Josh Koscheck'

Originally Posted on

PunchDrunkGamer's Justin Bolduc recently spoke with Chris 'Lights Out' Lytle about his upcoming fight with Josh Koscheck, his recent run in the UFC and the possibility of another boxing match.

PDG: You’re going into a really big fight against Josh Koscheck – how do you feel about the opportunity and the fight in general?
Chris: I’m really fired up about the opportunity. I feel like my last several fights I have made a decision to just go all out and throw caution to the win – not worry about what is going to happen and just fight as hard as I can. Even in the loss [to Thiago Alves] it was a very close, competitive fight – we both landed lots of things, and [the UFC] was very happy with it. Something clicked in my head and I started fighting how the UFC wants people to fight, and it’s working out for everybody.

PDG: Yeah, it looks like it’s especially working out for you – you’re really laying into guys and fighting more aggressively on the ground.
Chris: Exactly. I feel like I’ve been training too long and working on too many things, so now I just go out there and use everything that I have. Sometimes you can over-think these things like “I have to do this, this, and this” – but I’m not going to do that anymore; I’m just going to go out there and fight.

PDG: Josh Koscheck recently developed a striking game that he appears to be hell-bent on using, and proving himself. Do you feel that that could be a downfall for him, or considering your striking ability he may go back to his roots?
Chris: To be honest I think at the beginning he will definitely try and test the waters on his feet, but in my opinion when push comes to shove and things become a little bit harder you tend to fall back to what you know best – in his case that is wrestling. I won’t be too surprised if after a few minutes he decides to try taking me to the ground. It is kind of hard with someone like him that has developed striking – I have to be prepared for that, I don’t want to get caught not giving him the respect he deserves there; but I’m definitely thinking he is going to try to take me down.

PDG: Are you able to take anything from your fight with Matt Hughes into this fight?
Chris: Quite a bit actually. I never had too much of an experience where someone was able to hold me down to that effect. Matt did a great job neutralizing my game. I was thinking if we were on the ground that long with no damage they would stand the fight back up. The referees obviously didn’t stand us back up. In the past I thought that if we were down on the mat without action for a certain period of time the referees would stand us back up – but I’m not counting on that anymore. It depends on which referee you get and how long they will let it go. I’m now going to work on different ways to get to my feet instead of neutralizing the other guy – because sometimes that works but sometimes they are like “nope, keep going.” You don’t know what kind of a referee you are going to get so you better do it yourself.

PDG: It’s definitely a crapshoot.
Chris: Yeah, exactly. Like I’m saying, 90% of the time in that position they stand you up a lot. Lucky me it was that percentage they didn’t stand me up. I wasn’t really expecting that, but it happens.

PDG: As far as the submission game goes, Hughes is definitely ahead of Koscheck there. You were able to threaten Hughes on the ground with some of your attacks – nothing paid off in the end but you did attack him with some close chokes; do you feel confident with that going into the fight with Josh?
Chris: I know Josh trains with good people and he is very well versed in ground tactics, but I think in all honesty that my ground game is underrated. If he takes me to the ground I have lots of different things I’m looking to put him in. My whole goal now is to be the type of fighter who can end the fight in any position, at any time. I don’t want to give the other guy any position where he’s comfortable – “I’m OK right here.” No, you’re not. That is what I want to do right now – always make the other guy nervous at all times, like they should be.

PDG: You’re in one of the most stacked divisions in the world; how do you think you stack up?
Chris: I’ve been saying that for a long time that the 170-pound division is slightly more difficult than the rest. Yeah I’m in a stacked division and its real rough, but I definitely feel that I am better than most people give me credit for. That is why I want to see how I do in this next fight – it is going to prove a lot to the fans, as well as myself. Josh is right up there ranked around third or so, he’s obviously one of the best guys in the weight class. If I want to consider myself up there I have to beat someone like him, which will be very tough – he’s an extremely gifted athlete and I know that, but those are the types of fights I want at this point in my career.

PDG: A lot of people put weight on your boxing experience, but you have excellent jiu-jitsu with most of your wins by submission......
Chris: Yeah. I noticed a long time ago they liked to talk a lot about my boxing so I think this leaves more room for my submissions. But I’ll be quiet, go ahead and talk about my boxing and I’ll just keep submitting people [laughs]. I definitely still love boxing, but I haven’t had a boxing match in a few years since I signed a UFC contract. At some point though, I’m sure I’d like to have a boxing match again.

PDG: How do you reflect on your boxing career?
Chris: I would definitely like to have a couple more fights in the boxing realm, but to be honest with you the UFC pays a lot better than boxing does. A lot of people think boxing has all the money, but that’s true for maybe 0.1% of the money in boxing – they get all the money. People don’t realize the large discrepancy. I just enjoy boxing matches and want to have one again at some point, but timing is everything and I just have to wait until the time is right.

PDG: I know your fight with Josh is a ways off, but do you have any sponsors lined up yet for it?
Chris: Not really. I’ve been with the guys from Tapout for a long time – they take care of me really well. But I haven’t thought about my sponsorship much right now.

PDG: Thanks a lot for your time Chris. Is there anything you would like to say to wrap things up?
Chris: Yeah, all I really want to say is I guarantee that night I’m coming to bring it and fight hard, and at the end of the night I want everyone to say “this is the best fight I’ve seen all year.” I’m going to do everything I can to make that possible. Tune in and watch this fight!



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