If you ask any professional fighter, they will tell you that there are times when they feel that the path they have chosen in life isn’t exactly what they had envisioned. The rewards are hardly instant, the dedication that is put into the training and development of a fighter is like nothing else and for a lot of up-and-coming fighters the financial burdens certainly outweigh the financial gain.

Many a time, fighters will either find themselves on the brink of retirement or on the brink of breaking into the mainstream of the sport. In the lead-up to his fight on Aug. 24 with the Australian Fighting Championship promotion, “Ruthless” Rob Lisita can identify with both of these very real outcomes.

“Last year I had six fights in the span of eight months,” Lisita explained in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “This fight at AFC will be my third fight in four months. You try to stay sharp [and] sort of match fitness, but you have to grind away through injuries and through not seeing your family, without even really financially benefiting yourself. And it gets to you sometimes.

“It can be hard to overcome it, but I just went out and sparred and rolled a bunch. When I’m fighting, it’s probably the only time I’m only focused on just one thing. All I care about is that particular moment when I am inside the cage.”

Heading into his bout on Aug. 24, Lisita boasts four wins out of his last five fights. Meanwhile, his opponent, Brazilian Rodolfo “The Nightmare” Marques Diniz, has lost just two fights out of his 17 professional outings. A win would mean big things for Lisita, who could be a great local addition to the rumored Dec. 7 Australian UFC card. A loss, though, could also spell change for the Phuket-based fighter, who time and time again is reminded of the sacrifices that he endures while trying to progress as a professional fighter.

“Beating Rodolfo would be huge, and my ‘pay stock’ will go up, so to speak,” Lisita admitted. “If I do lose, though, I have to look at what I am doing. I do this for my family, so if it means I can have the chance of being a regular dad, then maybe I will rethink what I am doing with my career.”

In five of his last six fights, Marques Diniz has seen the scorecards. Lisita is very conscious of that fact as he approaches this fight.

“I can’t ensure how anything will happen, but I know I will be going for the finish,” declared Lisita. “I know that he goes for the finish too, but it’s harder to finish when both fighters are of a high level. I know I hit hard for a featherweight, and as I get more comfortable with my weight and myself as a fighter you’re gonna see me landing with that power more frequently.

“At the end of the day, though, it’s a fight and I’m gonna try to hurt him as much as possible, just like any other fight. It doesn’t really matter to me what it could mean if I win. It’s just another fight to me, and I am just gonna go in there and do what I do best.”

No matter what comes from the result of his fight on Aug. 24, there is no doubt that it is the most important outing of Lisita’s 16-fight career. A win over a top-rated international opponent leads to the question of when the Phuket Top Team fighter will find himself showcasing his skills on the world’s biggest stage. A loss, on the other hand, could see him wave goodbye to Phuket and be welcomed back home with open arms by his family.

It might seem like a win-loss type of scenario, but Lisita, deep down, knows that it is really a win-win.

Rob would like to thank Phuket Top Team, Phuket Pro Nutrition (PPN), Ink House Tattoo (Layzie) and MMA Apparel. Follow him on Twitter: @robertlisita

Photo: Rob Lisita (R) connects with a kick (Legend FC)

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.