The UFC recently announced that Lister will get a chance to avenge one of his early losses when he takes on Jeremy Horn at The Ultimate Fighter Finale show in June. The two first faced off in 2003, when Horn took Lister’s King of the Cage middleweight championship belt from him with a split decision victory.
“We’re both different now,” says Lister. “I’m about three times as experienced as I was back then. I only had like five fights back then, now I have fifteen. Then again, he’s probably fought way more than fifteen times since then, the way he goes.
“One thing Jeremy is known for is he’s not afraid to fight on the ground or on the feet. He’s very well-rounded. I just think that no matter what happens, it’s going to be an exciting fight. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the feet or on the ground – of course everyone knows that I have a preference.”
The bout with Horn may carry even more significance than a normal rematch, considering the UFC’s recent roster cuts. Lister has accomplished almost everything he can in the field of submission grappling and jiu-jitsu, and says his focus now is on becoming a great mixed martial artist – not just Tito Ortiz’s jiu-jitsu coach.
“Before I got into the UFC, even before I got into Pride, my grand goal was to become Abu Dhabi world champion. I’ve done that. Now that I’ve had that moment, I’ve changed my focus to the UFC. I was satisfied, but I’m not satisfied anymore. I think if you stop trying to grow, that’s it. You have to keep taking chances and putting yourself out there. That’s how you grow as a man, as well as a fighter.”
Lister’s recent growth has included a return from a very serious tendon injury that caused his biceps muscle to “roll up like a window shade.” The recovery was as tough mentally as it was physically, he says.
“It was a nightmare situation. Physically, it was a big problem. But psychologically it was an even bigger problem. I just had no confidence in my takedowns, no confidence in the strength in my arms, so it’s been tough getting over that, but I’ve been feeling better recently.”Link