Chris Lytle UFC 119

Chris Lytle

Chris Lytle went out on his own terms last night at UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle. Prior to weighing in for his bout against Dan Hardy, Lytle told UFC officials that, win or lose, he is done fighting after the evening’s main event. What he did in the main event was nothing short of a Hollywood script.‘s Fighter of the Night was Chris Lytle because of the welterweight’s ability to go out on top with a decisive win and ride into the sunset with his head held high.

After 13 years of fighting and more than 50 bouts, Chris Lytle decided to hang up the gloves. The reason he did it is because he wants to be the best dad he can be and spend more time with his family. Ever since his children were small, he’s been training, fighting, and spending a great deal of time committed to becoming a better mixed martial artist. It’s that amount of time that watered the garden of guilt, allowing it to grow ever so much over the years.

The decision to call it a career was lingering for several months, according to Lytle. Going into UFC on Versus 5, he felt the timing was just right to turn in his notice after contemplating it for a while.

“For about three or four months,” Lytle told MMAWeekly when answering questions about how long he had been considering retirement. “It’s been six months since my last fight and during that time I got to take a lot of time off to let my knee heal up.

“When I got to take some time off and spend some time with my family, I realized how much I was missing in my life not doing that more often.”

Take a note dads and husbands. This guy is shifting his commitment from an exciting career as a mixed martial artist to focus on being a better father and spouse. That’s admirable in every sense of the word.

And to go out with two additional financial bonuses for your work is a nice little topping on the career cake. Breaking records is nice, too. With the Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses awarded to Lytle Sunday night, the fighter finishes his career with the most UFC bonuses in company history with 10, earning over $500,000 in extra pay since joining the organization.

The man has made his mark in the Zuffa LLC-owned promotion and mixed martial arts. In doing so, he remained a humble athlete that many should look up to and model themselves after. He never tried to be a villain or oversell the good guy image; he just trained and got to work on fight night in hopes of doing his best.

Keeping this state of mind throughout a career is what makes men men. Certainly, it’s something his children can admire him for, but being around them more is just as, if not more, important.

Do your thing, Chris. Do your thing and enjoy retirement.

Ben Henderson - UFC

Ben Henderson

Honorable Mention: Ben Henderson

If a different man got nailed in the face with an off-the-cage kick by a tae kwon do practitioner, they’d probably never be able to recover from such a highlight reel. But Ben Henderson proved on Sunday night that he won’t fall into obscurity from being on the wrong end of the “showtime kick.”

Jim Miller, whom Henderson defeated at UFC on Versus 5 in Milwaukee, was on a seven-fight win-streak before meeting “Bendo.” Talks of Miller deserving a shot at the Edgar-Maynard winner were thrown back and forth in forums and social media platforms, but that all came to an end when Henderson defined the word assault in his bout with the New Jersey native.

For three rounds, Henderson wasn’t a man. No, there was a monster inside of the former WEC lightweight champion and he let it loose on Miller for 15 minutes, effectively eliminating any memory of his performance against Anthony Pettis. Now, he’s put himself in a place where people argue him as the next title contender.

With Clay Guida waiting for a fight, the coming weeks will be very interesting when talking about who faces who for UFC lightweight gold.

Worth a Mention: Benavidez vs. Wineland

The UFC bantamweight division has some exceptional talent in it, most notably the champ, Dominick Cruz. When Joseph Benavidez and Eddie Wineland fought on the UFC on Versus 5 undercard, their performances and fight’s title implications warranted a spot on a main card.

Perhaps the problem was finding time for them on a cable broadcast with time constraints and not so much that they don’t entertain. Of course, they entertain. Benavidez stapled himself as one of the best bantamweights in the world, yet again, by beating a former WEC bantamweight champion. Not only did he win, but he played right into Wineland’s advantages, choosing to keep the fight standing for a majority of the bout with a known striker.

Keep your eyes on the bantamweights, kids. Cruz, Benavidez, Johnson, Bowles, and Faber are all names that can make some noise… you just have to make an extra effort to listen for it.

Follow @Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik Fontanez.
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