Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy (23-10) gave his opponent a great going away present when he decided to try to box for the better part of three rounds with Chris "Lights Out" Lytle (41-18-5) Sunday night. Lytle--who formally announced his retirement plans at the weigh-ins for UFC Live 5--picked apart Hardy to hand the Brit his fourth loss in a row. A tight guillotine choke sealed the submission win for Lytle when Hardy decided to go for a takedown late in the third round. Lytle came into the fight with a 13-1-1 boxing record with 7 knockouts, so Hardy's decision to stand toe to toe with him was puzzling. To Hardy's credit he was able to rock Lytle a few times in the fight, but he just couldn't close the show.

"It was awesome. That's exactly the kind of fight I like," said Lytle in the locker room after the fight. The Indianapolis native first came onto the UFC scene in November of 2000 on the UFC 28 card with a unanimous decision loss to Ben Earwood. Though he bounced around quite a bit and fought in multpile different MMA circuits during his career, 14 out of his last 15 fights were in the UFC octagon. He also fought three times for the WEC long before that league merged with the UFC last year.

Lytle also ended his boxing career on a high note by knocking out Omar Pittman in June of 2005. Pittman was 9-1 at the time. Lytle became a full time MMA fighter after that, balancing his career as a firefighter with his MMA training. Lytle also became a family man and fathered four children during his long career, and taking some time off due to a knee injury after his last loss convinced him to quit for good after this bout. "They need their Dad," said Lytle about his kids during the post fight press conference. He also pointed out that he spent more than a third of his life fighting.

"I honestly love being a fighter. I love being part of the UFC. I love it more than anything in my life except for one thing, and that's my family," Lytle told Joe Rogan moments after winning his final fight in the cage. Lytle will certainly go down as a legend of the sport with a reputation for winning a healthy amount of post-fight bonuses and battling a real who's who of the sport. Among the most recognizable names on his fight resume were: Matt Serra, Matt Brown, Josh Koscheck, Thiago Alves, Matt Hughes, Joe Riggs, Karo Parisyan, Pete Spratt, Robbie Lawler, Aaron Riley, Nick Diaz, and Marcus Davis. He finishes his UFC stint as one of only 5 fighters to amass 20 or more total bouts within the organization.

During an interview a few months ago with Lytle, he told me he missed the old, unregulated days of mixed martial arts when he came up in the sport. Back then, he explained, headbutts were legal. It was the one move he said he loved most. It's no surprise considering he only had two knockout losses on his final record. His hard headed fighting style was evident up to the last moment of his final battle in the cage as he weathered punches from Hardy that might have ended the night of any other fighter.

Hardy will likely stay in the UFC as a result of his A for effort. Zuffa Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta tweeted after the fight a promise not to cut the four-time loser. That's not so surprising despite the so-called "three strikes rule" UFC President Dana White usually applies to cut most other fighters who lose three in a row. The fact that Hardy is sponsored by Xyience, a supplement and energy drink company owned by the Fertittas, seems to be outweighing the normal protocol for handling losing fighters. Hardy's image graces every can of the fruit punch flavor of Xenergy, one of the energy drink's latest new flavors. Getting rid of such a branded fighter associated with Xyience would likely make it much harder to sell the remaining fruit punch inventory with Hardy's face on it.

Meanwhile, if there were a Mount Rushmore of MMA, Chris Lytle's mug would be on it. Despite his great reputation, he's confident that he's leaving the sport he loves at the best possible time. "Although it pains me to do it, I'm making the right choice," he told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview. Lytle later said his next move will be a political fight to earn a seat in the Indiana State Legislature.


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