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Dean Lister - The Greatest Tzar of His Era

Dean Lister - The Greatest Tzar of His Era

1. Dean Lister’s Details

Dean Lister’s Details
Full Name Dean Richard Lister
Nickname The Boogeyman, Mister Fister, The Machine
Born San Diego, California
Current Residence San Diego, California
Date of Birth February 13, 1976
Nationality American
College/University Hilltop Senior High School, San Diego State University
Last Fight January 17, 2015, in FMMA
Last Weigh In 224.4 lbs
Weight Class Middleweight, Lightweight, Heavyweight
Weight 220 lb
Height 6 ft 1 in
Reach 75 inch (191 cm)
Career Disclosed Earnings Approximately $106,000 US
Fighting out of San Diego, California
Status Retired
Foundation style Wrestling, Submission Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo
Favorite Position/Technique Guard/ Heel Hooks, Footlocks and Knee locks.
Rank Fourth-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Awarded By Jeffery Higgs
Head coach Jeffery Higgs
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie >Helio Gracie > Rickson Gracie > Fabio Santos > Jeffery Higgs > Dean Lister
Team / Association  Fabio Santos, City Boxing,  Top Team, Victory MMA
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2. Dean Lister’s Biography

Whether it is MMA, grappling, or BJJ, the name Dean Lister, The Boogeyman needs no introduction. He was a man of intimidating and charismatic personality responsible for introducing many variations of leg locks in grappling and still reshaping it to date. His detailed instructionals offer a lot to learn from the Boogeyman.

2.1. Dean Lister’s Early Life & Amateur Fighting

Dean Lister, a formidable American grappler, was born on February 13, 1976, in San Diego California. His family has a military background which is why he moved a lot to South American states, like Panama and Venezuela. His stationing in different places with his family has helped him in different languages like English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. He got his high school education from Hilltop High School after settling in San Diego.

2.2. Main Attraction to Martial Arts Was Bullying Experience of Childhood

Being continually the new meat in schools, he was in many cases in fights and made some harsh memories growing up because of bullying. Bullying was the main reason that he was attracted to martial arts for learning self-defense and to guard himself as he was the smallest kid in class. Besides, he spent many years in Panama during the US invasion, so living in a serious combat zone has also pushed him towards a martial arts and fighting career. 

“I was told that the choke is the king, the armbar is the queen, and the foot lock is the dirty thief. Whatever people want to say, foot locks work.”

2.3. Amateur Fighting Career Started in High School

His amateur fighting career started in high school. When he settled back in San Diego, he began wrestling when was in high school and became the champion of the high-school division, a U.S. Public Sambo Champion, a National Gracie Jiu-Jitsu champion,  and a U.S. Machado National Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion. Jerry Matsumoto was his first coach who confirmed his interest in the submission. Not long after moving on from high school, Lister visited the Fábio Santos Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy.

2.4. His Devotion to Jiu-Jitsu

His interest developed in jiu-jitsu as early as he was in his childhood, once he read about it in a magazine, but he officially joined the sport in 1996, right after six months of his training. His dedication and commitment to the sport have earned him a special position in jiu-jitsu. He has been awarded a black belt by Jeffery Higgs. By keeping a receptive outlook and engrossing strategies from different disciplines, he brought a leg lock establishment in the grappling art of jiu-jitsu that he had the option to expand on and accomplish a serious level of progress with his profession.

2.5. Experienced a Hard Time in Life and training

Soon after Lister completed high school, he was exceptionally keen on BJJ because of its outcome in MMA fighting and chose to join Fabio Santos' academy. These were difficult stretches in Dean Lister's life as he had recently joined the school and was essentially all alone, being a full-time worker for his bread and butter, paying for his school educational cost, lease, and jiu-jitsu. So it was a rough patch in his life. But he was a living example of Earnest Hemongways’ depiction:

“A man can be destroyed but cannot be defeated.”

His trainer Fabios Santos, refused to award him a blackbelt because of his major interest in MMA, causing him to leave the academy. But later, Jeffery Higgs awarded him the Black belt.

Apart from his training life, he experienced difficult trials in his personal life as well. He got divorced from model Flavia Mazzoni. He had to stop his career because of severe depression and got addicted to drugs. He recently got hospitalized due to a ruptured spleen.

3. Dean Lister’s Pro BJJ Combat

3.1. ADCC Career

Privilege of Three-Times ADCC Invitation

Lister was a three-time invitee to the ADCC championship. He got the honor in 2000, 2003, and 2005. Apart from his invitation, he is a three times submission wrestling champion as well. 

Peak Point of His ADCC Career

In 2002, Dean took first place in the North American ADCC trials where he was also honored as the Fighter of the Night.

In 2003, he won the Absolute ADCC Championship in the Open weight division. In this championship, he consecutively defeated four of the world’s best grapplers which was a record at that time. This was the culmination point of his career which paved the way to launch himself in MMA.

In 2005, he won the ADCC Superfight championship by defeating Jean Jacques Machado.

In 2011, he won the ADCC Championship, by defeating Joao Assis.

In 2013, he won silver in the ADCC Championship.

4. Dean Lister’s Pro-MMA Combat

4.1. MMA Career

His MMA career prospered after the fame gained by the winning streak in ADCC. Dean Lister proceeded to fight in: the planet's greatest associations, Pride FC, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

KOTC Champion

Lister won the King of the Cage Middleweight Championship in his MMA career several times. There was a time in his early MMA career when nobody wanted to compete with him due to fear of deadly leg-lock submissions. That is why he was called by the name “The Boogeyman”. In the mid-2000s, Dean Lister acquainted Danaher with the leg locks when he came to prepare at Renzo Gracie Academy for a couple of weeks. Lister associated his progress in fights with leg-based assaults, and this disclosure uplift Danaher to foster them further.

PRIDE Champion

He has also won the PRIDE Bushido 6, held in Japan, by defeating Akira Shoji in 2005.

5. Dean Lister’s Historic Fights

Dean Lister vs Cacareco


It was Lister's brilliant strategy that he gives opponents what they want and lets them exhaust themselves and ultimately their morale diminishes when their best attack fails. Then he surprised the opponent with an unorthodox move. In the above video, Lister was caught up in an extremely tight guillotine by Ferreira that he had the option to get out of and end up under Ferreira's guard.  This would demonstrate very helpful for Dean as the referee reset the activity in the center of the mat.  Then he swam his hand to get the heel hook. It was just a beautiful and artistic display of proficiency in techniques.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Class Location
2003 ADCC Cacareco Win Heel hook F ABS São Paulo

Dean Lister vs Jean Jacques Machado


The above fight witnessed Lister’s remarkable championship victory. In 2005, he won the ADCC Superfight championship by defeating Jean Jacques Machado. He won by points (9-0). It was the longest bout with a remarkable win.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Class Location
2005 ADCC Jean Jacques Machado Win Points SPF Superfight United States

Dean Lister vs Alessio Sakara


The above fight shows complete jiu-jitsu perfection as Lister shot Alessio Sarkara to the takedown and got an excellent guard. That was a very dangerous guard. Dean Lister is a full well-rounded submission specialist. He set up a triangle then he grabbed hold of his arm to control it. He secured a well-deserved win by applying a triangle choke.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Class Location
2006 UFC 60 Alessio Sakara Win Triangle Choke 1 Light heavyweight United States

6. BJJ Instructorship

6.1. Instructional Work as Mentor

Dean Lister turned into a significant mentor, with experience preparing proficient MMA contenders like Tito Ortiz. As a senior member, he was on The Ultimate Fighter series 7 (TUF7) as a catching mentor for Team Ortiz.

Moreover, he was associated with academies like “Fabio Santos BJJ Academy”, in 1997, in San Diego and “Top Team Academy” in 2000 in Brazil. There, he trained submission grappling with  his innovative techniques.

6.2. MMA Victories

In 2007, Dean lister founded Victory MMA in his hometown, San Diego. His academy is a well-known fitness gym in San Diego. He instructs the beginners and advanced level gi and no-gi BJJ training to the members.

Dean lister has launched various instructional videos to teach his innovative lower body submissions. His DVD series on The K.A.T.C.H System, Worry Escapes, and Grappling Hacks master the grapplers to effective leg attacks and unleash devastation kneeling down, toes, heels, and lower legs.

7. Dean Lister Championships and Accomplishments

National Career

  • High school division wrestling champion
  • Two-time national (US) sambo champion
  • Four-time Machado National (US) BJJ champion
  • National (US) Gracie BJJ champion

International Career

  • Three-time winner of ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship
  • Grappling coach at Ultimate Fighter series 7 (TUF 7)
  • Won King of the Cage Championship (KOTC) 5, 11, 12, 16, 25, 29
  • Two times winner of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 60, 79
  • Winner of UFC Fight Night 6 and Pride Bushido 6.
  • Got the honor as first American to be included in the inaugural class of the ADCC Hall of Fame,2022.

7.1. Records/Medals of Dean Lister

Event Year Medal / Record
ADCC World Championship 2003 Gold
ADCC World Championship 2011 Gold
ADCC World Championship 2013 Silver
ADCC North American Championship 2002 Gold

7.2. Dean Lister's Main Achievements (Jiu-Jitsu)

Won ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships

  1. ADCC 2011 –99 kg: won the gold medal in Nottingham.
  2. ADCC 2003 –98 kg: Absolute/Open weight: won the gold medal in São Paulo.

Year Division Event Medal
2003 98 kg: Absolute/Open weight ADCC World Submission Wrestling Gold
2011 99 kg ADCC World Submission Wrestling Gold

One-time ADCC 2002 North American Trials won the gold medal in Los Angeles

Year Division Event Medal
2002 99 kg North American Trials Gold

ADCC 2005 Superfight Championship: Defeated Jean Jacques Machado

Year Division Event
2005 Superfight Superfight Championship

ADCC 2013 –99 kg: secured silver medal, in Beijing

Year Division Event Medal
2013 99 ADCC Silver

8. Dean Lister Main Achievements (Belts)

8.1. Black Belt

Lister is a 4th-degree black belt. Jeffery Higgs awarded him the belt even despite the opposition. A breakdown of his main achievements as a black belt is given below.

Position Belt Event Year
1st Black ADCC 2003
1st Black ADCC  North American Trials 2002
1st Black ADCC Superfight Championship 2005
1st Black ADCC 2011
2nd Black ADCC 2013

9. Dean Lister’s Main Achievements (MMA)

Two Times Winner of Ultimate Fighting Championship at the UFC

Year Opponent Event Result
2006 Alessio Sarkara UFC 60 1st
2007 Jordan Radev UFC 79 1st

Won King of the Cage Championship (KOTC)

Year Opponent Event Result
2000 John Jenson King of the Cage Championship (KOTC) 1st
2001 Jerry Jenkins King of the Cage Championship (KOTC) 1st
2002 Jacen Flynn King of the Cage Championship (KOTC) 1st
2002 Branden Seguin King of the Cage Championship (KOTC) 1st
2003 Brian Sleeman King of the Cage Championship (KOTC) 1st
2003 James Lee King of the Cage Championship (KOTC) 1st

Winner of UFC Fight Night 6

Year Opponent Event Result
2006 Yuki Sasaki UFC Fight Night 6 1st

Winner of Pride Bushido 6.

Year Opponent Event Winner
2005 Akira Shoji Pride Bushido 6 1st

10. Dean Lister’s Worldwide MMA Rankings

Rank Title
86 Greatest MMA Grappler of All Time
161 Last Ranked Middleweight
25 Highest Quarterly Ranking Middleweight

11. Dean Lister’s Professional Jiu-Jitsu Record Breakdown

Professional Break Down Record Jiu-Jitsu
Total matches 39 Wins 25 Losses 15
By submission 19 3
By decision 1 2
By points 5 10

11.1. Submission Methods W/L

Method Wins Loses
Heel hooks 12 0
Guillotine choke 1 0
Kimura 1 0
Kneebar 1 0
Foot lock 1 0
Choke 0 1
Pressure injury 0 1
Inverted Triangle 0 1
Toe hold 1 0
Violin armlock 1 0
Rear Naked chokes (RNC) 1 0

12. Dean Lister Jiu-Jitsu Fight History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method stage Weight Division
2015 ACBJJ Muhammad Kerimov L Submission (shoulder injury during an Ezekiel choke) SPF Superfight
2015 ADCC Yuri Simoes L Points 4F ABS
2015 ADCC Ricardo Mesquita W Submission (heel hook) R1 ABS
2015 ADCC Orlando Sanchez L Referee Decision 4F 99+
2015 ADCC Hyung Chul-Lee W Submission (ArmLock) R1 99+
2015 Polaris Professional Jiu-Jitsu Invitational Keenan Cornelius L Submission (reverse triangle choke) SPF Superfight
2014 Metamoris 4 Josh Barnett L Submission (scarf Hold choke) SPF Superfight
2014 Metamoris3 Renato Sobral D Draw SPF Superfight
2014 Macaco Branco Primates Janne-Pekka Pietiläinen W Referee Decision SPF Superfight
2013 World Jiu-Jitsu Expo Tarsis Humphreys W Submission (heel hook) SPF Superfight
2013 ADCC Keenan Cornelius L Points 3 PLC ABS
2013 ADCC Marcus Almeida L Points SF ABS
2013 ADCC Joao Gabriel Rocha W Submission (heel hook) 4F ABS
2013 ADCC Hideki Sekine W Submission (heel hook) R1 ABS
2013 ADCC Joao Assis L Points F -99 kg
2013 ADCC Cristiano Lazzarini W Submission (heel hook) SF -99 kg
2013 ADCC Ezra Lenon W Submission (heel hook) 4F -99 kg
2013 ADCC Jia Jing Jang W Submission (heel hook) R1 -99 kg
2013 Grapplers Quest: UFC Fan Expo Joao Assis L Referee Decision N/A ABS
2013 Grapplers Quest: UFC Fan Expo Kyle Griffin W Submission (toe hold) N/A ABS
2012 Metamoris 1 Alexandere Ribeiro D Draw SPF Superfight
2012 Grapplers Quest: UFC Fan Expo Ricardo Abreu W Submission (heel hook) SPF Superfight
2011 ADCC Joao Assis W Submission (heel hook) F -99 kg
2011 ADCC Rodolfo Vieira W Submission (heel hook) SF -99 kg
2011 ADCC Radek Turek W Submission (heel hook) 4F -99 kg
2011 ADCC Augusto Ferrari W Points R1 -99 kg
2009 ADCC Vinny Magalhaes L Points R1 ABS
2009 ADCC Glover Teixeira L Points 4F -99 kg
2009 ADCC Andreas Olsen W Submission (triangle choke) R1 -99 kg
2005 ADCC Jean Jacques Machado W Points SPF Superfight
2003 ADCC Alexandre Ferreira W Submission (heel hook) N/A ABS
2003 ADCC Marcio Cruz W Points (3-0) SF ABS
2003 ADCC Saulo Ribeiro W Submission (kneebar) 4F ABS
2003 ADCC Nate Marquardt W Submission
(Kimura)
R1 ABS
2003 ADCC Alexandre Ribeiro L Points 4F -99
2003 ADCC Ilir Latifi W Submission (guillotine choke) R1 -99
2000 Grapplers Quest West Marc Laimon L Points (2-4) N/A ABS
2000 Grapplers Quest West Tony DeSouza W Points (4-2) N/A ABS
2000 Grapplers Quest West Sean Sprangler W Submission
(neck crank)
N/A ABS

13. Dean Lister Professional MMA Record Breakdown

Professional Break Down Record MMA
Total matches 20 Wins 13 Losses 07
By submission 11 0
By decision 2 7

13.1. Dean Lister Submission Methods W/L

Method Wins Loses
Heel hooks 2 0
Guillotine choke 1 0
Inverted Heel Hook 1 0
Kneebar 1 0
Kimura 1 0
Triangle choke 3 0
Double-armbar 1 0
Armbar 1 0

14. Dean Lister MMA Fight History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Division
2015 Fighter 1 Michael Knap W Heel Hook 1 Heavy weight
2012 Cage Contender 13 Rodney Moore W Inverted Heel Hook 3 Middleweight
2009 MFC 23 Thales Leites L Decision
(unanimous)
3 N/A
2008 UFC 92 Yushin Okami L Decision
(unanimous)
3 Light heavyweight
2008 TUF 7 Finale Jeremy Horn W Guillotine Choke 1 N/A
2007 UFC 79 Jordan Radev W Decision
(unanimous)
3 Welterweight
2007 UFC Fight Night 8 Nate Marquardt L Decision
(unanimous)
3 N/A
2006 UFC Fight Night 6 Yuki Sasaki W Decision
(unanimous)
3 N/A
2006 UFC 60 Alessio Sakara W Triangle Choke 1 N/A
2005 PRIDE Total Elimination,2005 Ricardo Arona L Decision
(unanimous)
3 N/A
2005 PRIDE Bushido 6 Akira Shoji W Triangle Choke 1 N/A
2004 PRIDE Bushido 4                Amar Suloev L Decision
(split)
2 N/A
2003 KOTC 31: King of the Cage 31 Jeremy Horn L Decision
(majority)
4 N/A
2003 KOTC 29: Renegades James Lee W Armbar 1 N/A
2003 KOTC 25: Flaming Fury Brian Sleeman W Double Armbar 1 N/A
2002 KOTC 16: Double Cross Brenda Seguin W Triangle Choke 3 N/A
2002 KOTC 12: Cold Blood Jacen Flynn W Kimura 2 N/A
2001 KOTC 11: Domination Jerry Jenkins W Heel Hook 1 N/A
2001 KOTC 7: Wet and Wild Jacen Flynn L Decision
(Split)
3 N/A
2000 KOTC 5: Cage Wars John Jensen W Kneebar 1 N/A

15. Top Fights Links

Dean Lister Vs Rodney Moore

Keenan Cornelius Vs Dean Lister

Dean Lister Vs Jean Jacques Machado

Dean Lister VsRicardo Arona

Dean Lister Vs Jermy Horn

Dean Lister Vs Josh Barnett

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