Matt Hughes: A Look Back At The Five Worst Fights Of His Career

UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes will go down as one of the all-time greats to ever grace the cage.

However, that doesn’t mean Hughes has had a perfect career.

Despite going 45-9 and capturing a pair of UFC welterweight titles, there are a few matches that the former NCAA Division I wrestler would likely prefer to have back.

So, let’s take a look at five losses that helped shape the career of Matt Hughes:

1. Josh Koscheck, UFC 135 (2011)

This is likely the one that Hughes will look back at most when reflecting on why he decided to retire.

It had been several months since Hughes last fought – another knockout loss we will cover later in this article – and the former champ was looking to possibly go out on top by defeating Josh Koscheck.

Instead, it was Koscheck who controlled the action. Using his size and speed to his advantage, “Kos” dominated the stand-up. Hughes was never able to take Koscheck down and execute some vintage ground-and-pound, and eating a fight-ending combo finished his night and career.

Koscheck earned the win via knockout with one second left in the first round.

2. Georges St-Pierre, UFC 79 (2007)

Hughes had plenty of trouble with current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre during his career, posting a 1-2 record against the Canadian.

Of the two defeats, though, the one at UFC 79 stands out.

With just six seconds remaining in the second round, Hughes was forced to submit to an armbar.

St-Pierre put on a complete display, showing all other welterweights out there that he was the new king at 170 pounds. GSP fended off each takedown attempt, puzzling the former wrestler.

St-Pierre proceeded to place Hughes on his back in the second before locking in the fight-ending submission.

3. Thiago Alves, UFC 85 (2008)

This one was likely a fight that the UFC asked Hughes to take – and he accepted, as he always did.

Alves was an up-and-coming prospect in the division and would eventually challenge for the title. The fight took place in England, one of just a handful of bouts Hughes would ever have outside the U.S.

Maybe he was still suffering from the side effects of the loss to GSP, or maybe it was jet-lag, but Hughes never looked like his old self against Alves. The younger fighter constantly defended against Hughes’ takedown attempts.

In the second, Alves went on the attack, catching Hughes with a huge knee early, opening up a cut. Alves continued to pound away before the fight was stopped just 62 seconds into the round.

4. Dennis Hallman, UFC 29 (2000)

Much like that first career defeat, most fighters will always remember their first loss inside the Octagon.

For Hughes, both of those center around one man: Dennis Hallman.

Hallman handed Hughes his first career loss in 1998 in his fifth professional fight, while also defeating him in his UFC debut in 2000. Both Hallman wins came via submission.

While Hughes went on to bigger and better things as evident by his resume, Hallman’s biggest claim to fame is his two wins over Hughes.

5. BJ Penn, UFC 46 (2004)

Following five successful title defenses of the UFC welterweight belt, Hughes was matched up with rising star BJ Penn in 2004.

Having just submitted Frank Trigg and bested Sean Sherk the previous year, Hughes looked to add Penn’s name to his legacy.

However, in three trips to the cage with “The Prodigy,” he would only win once, as Penn scored a first round submission over him in 2004, and followed up with a knockout victory in 2010.

  • sam_snee

    Dana, not only is your writing poor, but you’re memory of fights as well. Kos was getting beaten up the whole time until he landed a big blow. Go watch it again and report back to me. You are terrible at this.

    • Aaron_johnson425

      Haha. True. Hughes picked up right where GSP left off on Koscheck’s eye. If Kos didn’t land that haymaker, his eye would have been swollen shut by the second round.

    • Dana Becker

      You got it Sam! Anything for you.

  • Aaron_johnson425

    What is the point of this article? The “five losses that helped shape the career of Matt Hughes”? The guy has 45 wins on his résumé. He was the first person to ever defeat GSP. And he did so with a finish. He beat Carlos Newton twice. He beat Sean Sherk. He beat Frank Trigg. He beat Chris Lytle. He beat BJ Penn. He beat Matt Serra. He beat not one, but two members of the Gracie family. He won 9 UFC welterweight title fights, with 6 of them being consecutive. HE IS TIED WITH GSP for the most successful welterweight title defenses. He has won more UFC fights than anybody else in UFC history. His record boasts at least one win over EVERY welterweight champion in UFC history (except Miletich because they’re buddies). Let me say that again: MATT HUGHES HAS BEATEN EVERY UFC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION IN THE HISTORY OF THIS SPORT EXCEPT MILETICH. And honestly, he would have probably beaten Miletich also if they were willing to fight each other.

    But the 5 losses you mention helped shape his career. Oh, man. This blog is going downhill. With all of the effort you had to spend to find blemishes buried under the piles of achievements and accomplishments, it is remarkable that you failed to recognize just how amazing Matt Hughes was. I’m assuming that you didn’t follow MMA for the first decade of this millennium. Because nobody who was there to experience it would sum up Matt Hughes’ career in the context of these 5 losses. Only somebody who showed up in the eleventh hour of Hughes’ incredible career would frame a retrospective article in this perspective.

    • Dana Becker

      I agree 100-percent with you. However, it should be pointed out I was assigned the story, while another writer was given the five best wins of Hughes’ career.

  • Danny Trejo

    Yeah, this website has honestly turned to shit ever since Steve Barry left.

    • Dana Becker

      Such a love affair with Steve Barry by you guys. Wonder if any of you know him personally by chance?:)

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