At UFC 34, Matt Hughes took his first crack at UFC gold against Carlos Newton. We know the rest of the story…
Matt Hughes reflects on his beginnings in The UFC. He explains that it was largely uncharted territory, and he didn’t have a clue of where it would take him.
Matt Hughes talks about the decisions he made leading up to his retirement. Hughes basically says it came down to his mind wanting to stay in it, but his body was just unable to compete at a high level. At 39 years old, there’s certainly no shame in that.
Dan Hardy, who is never shy, gives his take on one of The UFC greats in the form of Matt Hughes. Hardy is obviously not a fan of Hughes, and he even goes on to say he actually feels Hughes to be bad for MMA.
Matt Hughes had some interesting remarks concerning UFC titles during a recent fan chat he hosted on the promotions site.
Hughes, a former two-time UFC welterweight champion, successfully defended the title seven times. However, he feels as though each time, he should have been presented with a new world title.
“I was big on always going out and winning a new belt,” Hughes said. “I never thought of it as defending a belt. I always thought of it as winning a new one. I think when people are trying to defend, they’re not as exciting and they don’t have as much drive as a guy trying to go out and win a new belt.”
Do you agree with Hughes? Personally, I feel like each champion fighter – especially a guy like Georges St-Pierre – views each title match as a new one.
Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes would likely have jumped at the opportunity recently presented to Georges St-Pierre.
The current UFC 170-pound champion St-Pierre turned down a super-fight with Anderson Silva for a match with Nick Diaz.
Hughes, who announced his formal retirement last week, told MMAjunkie.com Radio that he regrets not being able to face Silva in a champion vs. champion match.
“I always wanted to go up to 185 to put the belts together,” Hughes said.
Instead of facing Silva, Hughes went on to become one of the best welterweights ever, scoring himself an induction into the UFC’s Hall of Fame.
Hughes is now working with the UFC to help keep the fighters from taking drugs or banned substances. As far as a possible “final” fight, Hughes said, “I will not come back and be in the Octagon again.”
Silva made it well known that he was ready to fight St-Pierre, but that he would not move down to 170 pounds. GSP stated his desire to stay at welterweight, and agreed to face Diaz later this year.
New UFC Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations Matt Hughes talks about his retirement and his new job.
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.
Former two-time UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes has officially retired from MMA. UFC president Dana White made the announcement prior to a press conference on Thursday.
Hughes (45-9) will take over as the vice president of athlete development and government relations, according to White, meaning he will help keep fighters on the right path and away from drug use and taking performance enhancers.
“(Hughes) is retiring from fighting, but he’s not going anywhere,” White said. “He is going to be with this company for a very long time. He’s been a very loyal guy to us.”
The 39-year-old Hughes is already inducted into the UFC’s Hall of Fame. He owns the most career wins inside the Octagon – 18 – and holds an overall MMA record of 45-9.
“What started out as a hobby brought me to the UFC and here in front of you now,” Hughes said. “I look forward to working with the UFC going forward.”
BJ Penn and Matt Hughes catch up, and BJ talks about his upcoming fight.