For over 14 years, Chris Lytle's (31-18-5) life revolved around MMA until his retirement in 2011. While he was never a UFC champion, he earned eight fight bonuses.
A month before his fight with Brian Ebersole (50-15-1-1 NC), Lytle had knee surgery. After the fight, he began the physical healing process and thought about a life once his MMA career ended.
"After the Ebersole fight I knew I needed to rehab my leg and I had never done that before," said Lytyle. "So I took about a month and a half to strengthen up my leg and during that time I didn't go to the gym at night like I used to, so I got to spend some time at home with my family."
At Lytle's next fight in April of that year, against Dan Hardy (24-10-1 NC), he knew it would be his last one going in.
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"I had been fighting since 1998 and knowing that this was going to be my last fight – I was not going to leave any questions," said Lytle. "I was going to give this everything I had. My last memories of being a fighter were going to be good ones."
Lytle would win the fight to close out his career and switch his attention towards his family. While Lytle closed the chapter on his MMA career, he noted that if the UFC needed a last minute replacement fighter he wouldn't instantly turn them down.
"I still feel good and can fight," said Lytle. "But if it's something where I have to train for three to five weeks or more, I wouldn't do it. Only way I'm doing it is if I get a call and I literally have to get on a plane that day or the next, fly there, fight and come back home to my family. When I fight, I dedicate everything to it for as long as I'm preparing. If I did another training camp I'd feel like I'd be giving up on my family, and I can't do that."
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