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When and why did you start training for fighting? I grew up in several South American countries including Venezuela and Panama. I lived in Panama during the U.S. invasion in 1989. I lived right in the middle of a serious combat zone.
As a young boy I wasn't able to speak the language. Being smaller for my age than normal which I was, not speaking the language, being a foreigner and the "new kid" often got me into fights. The need to protect myself was rooted inside me at a young age and this is the reason I began martial arts and wrestling.
The reason I chose this sport as my reason for existing is because it is the hardest thing out there I could find, the biggest and most challenging sport that exists. I stayed with this sport after a few years because I found that it was developing myself and influencing the way I live. The hard lessons I have learned in this sport will stay with me forever and there is still so much for me to learn.
What ranks and titles have you held? Two-time National Sambo Champ and four-time Machado National Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champ. Pro-Am Invitee in 2000. National Gracie Jiu Jitsu champion. Won the North American ADCC where I was also selected as the Tap Out (MVP) Fighter of the Night. Returned to the Abu-Dhabi tournament in 2003 where I defeated 4 of the best grapplers in the world consecutively (3 by submission) to set a tournament record and become the Absolute Champion. 2005 Abu Dhabi Superfight Champion. Record includes 111 wins and 12 losses, with over 90 of these wins coming by submission. In MMA competition, never been knocked out or submitted but all victories have come by submission.
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Received belt from Jeffrey Higgs (Fabio Santos Black Belt). Santos trained Lister through brown belt.
Favorite grappling technique: I'll show you December 29th
Favorite Striking technique: Knocking people out is getting addicting. It’s coming
Do you have any heroes? There are so many I have had in my life. Some I know some I don't. Some who are a part of history and some that are still living. Too many to mention.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It is the focal point of my career right now and the proving grounds of my life. I have always wanted to fight in the UFC since the early 90s so it is a dream come true. For me it means fighting in my homeland and representing where I come from to the rest of the world. Also the timing is very symbolic to me as I have recently been recovering from some extreme life changes.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I went to SDSU, San Diego State University and graduated in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Problems. I speak 4 languages; Portuguese, Spanish, French (almost fluent) and of course English.
What was your job before you started fighting? I was always in the restaurant business scraping a living and helping as an assistant instructor at my old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school. I also worked a brief amount of time as a loan officer. I definitely learned that I am not a desk person.