The MMA bubble has been pretty close to its ceiling, or may even have hit and is on its descent back to a plateau, but athletes from other sports are still tinkering with the idea of crossing over, even if only for a fight or two. It's not too often that we hear of an MMA fighter wanting to cross over to other sports, though. Roy Jones, Jr. has been a name that keeps popping up in conversation with several MMA fighters (Rampage, Silva, Diaz), and he was actively campaigning for a fight against one of our own as recently as two weeks ago.
Before Anderson Silva ‘s horrific injury during the rematch with Chris Weidman, there was serious discussion that a boxing match might be made between him and Jones. Obviously, a fight with Silva is off the table, so from there, Jones called on Nick Diaz to step up to the task. Diaz has not responded, however, former UFC Welterweight standout, Chris Lytle feels he is up to the challenge of taking on the former boxing champion.
In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Lytle discussed his plans to make a serious bid for the fight with Jones, what he thinks of the current battle between the UFC and former Welterweight champion, Georges St.Pierre, and goes on to tell a story about a fan who was determined to plant a kiss on him. Here's what he had to say:
Roy Jones, Jr.
I'd always heard a little bit of talk about Roy Jones fighting Anderson Silva in a boxing match. I've always been very intrigued by the idea, myself. I've had 15 pro boxing bouts, and I always wanted to continue boxing. I almost made it onto a boxing reality show with Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone. I went to the tryouts for the second season, and they really wanted me to be on it, but they ended up going with a 150 pound weight class, which was way light for me. There was just no way I could do it.
I remember when I went to my interview for The Ultimate Fighter 4, and they wanted me to be a part of it, so I asked if I signed the contract, would I still be able to box. They said I couldn't, so I weighed my options. I knew the opportunity was just too great for me to pass up with the UFC. I fought my UFC career, and I'm very happy with that.
Right after Anderson fought a few weeks ago, my boxing coach called me and asked if I saw the fight. He asked if I'd heard that Jones and Anderson might have had a boxing match, and I said I hadn't. He told me the fight obviously wasn't happening anymore, and that Jones had said that he'd be willing to take Nick Diaz.
My coach told me, ‘You know, you've had a lot of boxing matches, Chris. I don't even know if they could get a bout sanctioned with anyone else. I guarantee they would sanction you to fight him. You're 13-1-1 and you beat a couple of really good guys. You should try to get that fight.'
I've always wanted to have one more boxing match, sort of like a retirement fight from there, too. I think Roy would be the perfect opponent, because he's a little older, like myself and he's slowed down a step or two. In my opinion, he's always been one of the greatest boxers in the world. For about 10 years or so, he just dominated the ranks.
He used to have that uncanny ability to never get hit, but these days, he's down a notch, and that's exactly why he's wanting to get a fight with a guy from the UFC. I think he can't beat the top tier boxers anymore, so he feels he can beat up a UFC guy. I'd like to show him that he can't. We're pretty good boxers and pretty skilled people. I'd like to go in there as the guy that's got the credentials to actually earn that boxing match with him.
I think a lot of people would actually like to see me fight again. It would be a good move for me and for him. When I was cornering Garret Whitely this week, I had a bunch of people asking me to come back to MMA. I told them I wasn't going to do it, but that I'd love to get one last boxing match in. I think Roy would be the perfect one.
I do get that itch to come back to MMA sometimes, but there's a couple things about it. My career ended too well. It ended on such a high note. It does bother me when people continually come back from retirement. I made a commitment to my family that I'm not going to be a fighter anymore. People come out for just one fight, so they say. Doing that doesn't make any sense to me.
Coming out for one boxing match makes sense to me, because it puts an end to an era for me. It's my retirement from the sport I started in. It's closure for me. I know it would be much easier on me to do a boxing camp than to do an MMA camp. The wear and tear is significantly less.
I won't say I don't have an itch to return to action for a minute. I definitely do. It just won't be for an MMA fight. I'll only come out for a boxing match, and only if it was the right opponent. Jones is definitely the right opponent.
Promoting the Bout
I don't really care who promotes it, whether it's the UFC or Goldenboy, whoever. I don't care where it is. Las Vegas, Indiana, the moon, doesn't matter to me. I don't care if anybody watches it or if millions watch it. I would just like the chance to test myself against one of the all-time greats. I never got a proper end to my boxing career. It was decided for me when I signed the UFC contract. Now if the UFC would give me their blessing, and allow me to do this fight for them, I think I could do them proud.
Worst case scenario for the UFC would be that I went out there and lost. They could be like, ‘Hey, Chris hasn't fought in 2.5 years, he's retired.' Best case scenario, I go out there and win and they could say, ‘Look at this. We have a guy, he wasn't our best or even a champ, but he did very well for us and he just went out and beat one of the best boxers ever...and he's been retired for a couple years. That shows the kind of athletes we have at the UFC.'
If Anderson Silva had gone on to beat Weidman and then fought Jones and lost, that would look really bad for the UFC. There's a lot less downside to me fighting him. It's definitely more of a win-win than if anybody else had taken the fight.
I don't know a whole lot about the situation, because I've been out of the loop, but it's a little surprising to me. The UFC is going to want the best product they can possibly have. Maybe I equate it to back in major league baseball. Baseball was hurting pretty bad, and then all the sudden Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire start cranking out 60-70 homeruns in a year. They knew what was happening, they just didn't do much about it.
When I was there, the UFC gave us a list of banned substances and told us we would be tested for them. I'm not really sure what else is supposed to be done besides that. They do drug test you. If there's ways around it, then there's ways around it. I'm not sure exactly what he's wanting to have them do. I'm not very informed on the topic, so I can't really speak very intelligently on what his accusations were or the solution to them. I need to educate myself on this argument before I decide whose side I'm on.
The Man That Tried To Kiss Me
This was one of the weirdest things that's ever happened to me. It's been a few years back, and I honestly didn't know how to react. So I'm out and people are around me and getting pictures with me. This one guy kind of stumbles out in front of all the other people, pushing some of them back. It was kind of rude, but I was going to ignore it. This guy comes at me and is trying to kiss me on the mouth. I pushed him back, and got a little freaked out. He was persistent too. It got to the point where I was trying to hide in this crowd of people just to get back to my seat. It scared me because this guy was aggressively trying to kiss me [laughs]. It made me feel like a rape victim or something. I didn't like that feeling at all. I had to get away from that. It was the most disturbing thing I've ever had happen [laughs].
You can follow Chris via his Twitter account, @lytleforindiana