On the morning after Chris "Lights Out" Lytle's proclamation that he would retire from mixed martial arts, the MMA community and fans worldwide will tune in to Lytle's last matchup with the hard-hitting Brit, Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy on Versus this evening with a heightened level of interest.
Speaking to Chris Lytle speaks about his retirement" target="_blank">NBCSports.com, Lytle stated that he wanted to spend more time with his family and that his commitment to the UFC was challenging his duties as a father.
"I've been fighting since '98, fighting forever, a lot of it is just that I'm not doing my responsibilities like I need to at home," Lytle told NBCSports.com.
Never a champion, Lytle's tenacity and fighting style have always made him a fan favorite. With an overall MMA record of 30-18-5, "Lights Out" was never defeated by way of knockout or submission since stepping foot inside the cage back in 1999.
Earning a record eight "Fight of the Night" bonuses throughout his career, Lytle's "balls to the wall" approach to the world's fastest-growing sport has not only kept fans entertained over the years, but has kept the Indiana native in the good graces of the UFC brass, including president Dana White.
A true competitor with a heart of a champion, Lytle will always be remembered for his valiant efforts inside the Octagon and, more importantly, his commitment to the community outside of the cage.
Please follow along as I provide Chris "Lights Out" Lytle's top five moments of his MMA career.
At the Mohegan Sun Arena in Ucasville, Conn. for UFC 45 on Nov. 21, 2003, MMA fans worldwide were introduced to the charismatic fighting style and relentless tempo that has epitomized Chris Lytle since he first stepped foot inside the cage.
Engaging in a three-round slug-fest with the hard-hitting Team Miletich disciple Robbie Lawler, Lytle's aggressive nature and boxing prowess were on display since the opening bell.
Catching Lawler off-guard with a thunderous slam, Lytle capitalized on the takedown by delivering savage ground-and-pound and wearing down the knockout specialist on the mat.
Again the aggressor in the second round, Lytle continued to dominate Lawler with a series of leg kicks and thunderous hooks that continued to find their mark on the southpaw.
The third round began like the second, with Lytle imposing his will in the stand-up game. Responding, Lawler sent Lytle to the canvas with a series of powerful punches. Not to be outdone, however, Lytle battled back and finished the stanza with a tremendous suplex of his opponent.
Even though Lytle lost this matchup to Lawler via unanimous decision defeat, the world was introduced to the heart and tenacity of this young Indiana native, which would be the backbone of Lytle's fighting career for a decade more.
The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale between Chris Lytle and Matt Serra was seen worldwide Nov. 11, 2006.
Competing for the opportunity to battle Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship, the winner of TUF 4 was awarded $200,000 and a shot at the title.
Defending the takedown against Matt Serra very well throughout the fight, Lytle minimized Serra's strengths, and exhibited a solid game plan and excellent cardiovascular conditioning throughout the welterweight finale.
Displaying his tremendous amateur boxing skills, "Lights Out" stayed busy on his feet and was consistently the aggressor in this matchup.
Losing a tough split-decision defeat to Serra, Lytle's future within the UFC was nonetheless solidified due to his willingness to compete and desire to win at all costs.
UFC 89 on Oct. 18, 2008 showcased an epic battle between Chris Lytle and England's own "Relentless" Paul Taylor.
Earning a unanimous decision victory over the hard-hitting Brit in front of Taylor's home country at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England, both competitors walked away from the slug-fest with "Fight of the Night" bonuses.
A grueling three-round affair that delivered amazing stand-up skills from both Lytle and Taylor, their combined total of 187 significant strikes landed was only surpassed by Lytle's rematch with Matt Serra at UFC 119, totaling a record-high 277 significant strikes landed.
Displaying his warrior attitude for the fans across the pond, Lytle's reputation as a gritty, hard-nosed competitor with a solid chin was reinforced by his effort against Taylor.
Equaling Lytle's hard-hitting mentality inside the Octagon, "The Immortal" Matt Brown entered the cage at UFC 116 July of 2010 in a rematch of his earlier defeat to "Lights Out" in 2007.
Prior to these two gladiators engaging in an epic battle in front of the MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd, Lytle told MMAJunkie.com he requested from the UFC that, "I just want to fight guys that will come after me."
And Brown definitely came after Lytle in this contest. The two share in a propensity for violence inside the Octagon, and the fans were not disappointed by their willingness to stand, trade and throw caution to the wind for a victory.
Round 1 began with a flurry of strikes by "The Immortal" one. Unconventionally, Brown attempted a failed Darce-choke submission early in the fight.
Surviving the submission attempt of Brown in Round 1, Lytle regrouped in Round 2, landing a solid uppercut at the beginning of the stanza.
Following the rocked Brown to the mat, Lytle locked in the triangle arm-bar submission from the mount, forcing a tapout at the 2:02 mark of Round 2.
Known for his boxing skills and granite chin, "Lights Out" exhibited his jiu-jitsu creativity in this matchup, unveiling another facet to his well-rounded skill-set.
In a story I released on June 2, 2011, Chris Lytle was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh project.
Utilizing the grant money to reconstruct a training facility for inner city youth and combat veterans in his hometown of Indianapolis, Lytle capitalized on his celebrity to achieve the necessary votes needed to earn the substantial grant money.
Speaking to Fighter Only Magazine, Lytle stated that the MMA classes offered at his facility, "gives kids who have nothing and no direction a chance. This is the best way I know how to give people a chance to see (that) hard work pays (off) and to teach life lessons."
A world-class competitor who has competed inside the cage since 1999, Lytle has earned eight "Fight of the Night" bonuses amassing more than $420,000.
Reveling in the celebrity of the world's fastest-growing sport, Lytle will be most remembered by this author as someone who has stood on his principles and convictions, and a man who believes that his prosperity in this world is best suited to be shared with those in unfortunate situations.
I not only thank Chris Lytle for his tremendous efforts inside the Octagon, but I thank him for remaining grounded and true to who he is as a person, as a father, as a husband and as a role model in his neighborhood.
More people, not just fighters, can learn from Lytle's dedication to his family, the wonderful sport of mixed martial arts and his community.