The distance between Phuket, Thailand, and Brisbane, Australia is more than 7,000 kilometers, or 4,300 miles. Australian-based fighter “Ruthless” Rob Lisita could probably tell you that. After all, he’s traveled each and every one of those miles.

It has been a little over 12 months since Sydney-born Lisita has had a mixed martial arts bout on Australian soil. But in order to continually hone his skills as a complete mixed martial artist, it’s not uncommon for Lisita to take an eight-week training camp away from his family to spend time at Phuket Top Team in Thailand.

The trek from Phuket might seem like a long way for him to travel just to prepare for one fight, but fighting in Brisbane against Jacob Pettitt on June 29 at the first event put on by Adrenalin could very well start to open up even more doors for Lisita, who at times struggles to find match-ups in Australia.

“It’s a blessing to be able to train at Phuket Top Team, but I love Brisbane. I hope that I can move there sometime this year so that I can train with Australia’s best guys at Integrated [MMA],” he revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I might actually have some support for this fight [laughs].”

In his last competitive outing, Lisita won a unanimous decision bout in the modified-rules arena of Combat8. The fight was—as expected—a bloody scrap, which is the style of fight that Lisita embraces and something that he has grown to expect out of himself each and every time he walks into a fight.

“The fans can expect the same me every time along with a lot of blood and violence. I don’t really take a backward step and I’m always gonna be looking for the finish,” he exclaimed. “No matter what and no matter who I fight, I’m always chasing that finish. It’s something that I love. I think I’m a lot better on the ground, but for him and for the fans, I’m gonna make him go toe-to-toe [with me].”

Having fought his past two mixed martial arts bouts for Legend FC, where he sought to challenge the best competition that the Asia-Pacific region has to offer, Lisita will get a change of scenery with the fight in Brisbane that many didn’t expect to see in the near future.

“I wasn’t surprised at all. The promoters wanted me on the show,” he said. “They just had a hard time finding someone that had the balls to step up. Jacob did, so props to him. I know I’m a better fighter than him everywhere, but anything can happen in a fight. I’ll just fight with my mentality: ‘kill or be killed.’”

Often a fighter will go from fight to fight without a clear goal in mind on where their career is headed. The obvious answer is always to get to the UFC. For Lisita, though, his visions and goals are a little more clear-cut and he is realistic in where he stands.

“I have this fight at lightweight which I am really looking forward to. It’s a payday, and that’s what I am looking for at the moment,” he said. “I have another fight lined up for August which means a lot for my career, and to be honest, if I don’t win that fight, I’m very, very close to retirement.”

The event on June 29 also marks the first time that Adrian Pang steps into the cage since a horrific assault outside the cage. Pang is one of the most respected fighters on the Australian circuit, and naturally, being a friend of Lisita’s, there is a little bit of added excitement for him to be once again fighting on the same night.

“It’s awesome to be fighting on the same card as Adrian. This is the fourth time we’ve fought on the same card,” he said. “He’s been my favorite Aussie fighter during my career, someone that I’ve modelled a lot of my fighting style from. He’s a good man and father, and the same goes for Jai [Bradney].”

Although we are halfway through 2013 already, June 29 marks the beginning of Lisita’s year in MMA action. And he knows all too well that the nine-and-a-half-hour flight back to Phuket afterwards would be better spent celebrating a victory, instead of reflecting on where his second mixed martial arts loss in a row puts his career.

Rob would like to thank Phuket Pro Nutrition, MMA Apparel, Layzie from Inkhouse Tattoo, his family and most importantly, God. Follow him on Twitter: @robertlisita

Top Photo: Rob Lisita (top) (Scott Clark/Sherdog)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.