Can a country boy still survive?
The UFC is host of the sports very best as legends Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Royce Gracie dominated the sport in all aspects-striking, wrestling and jui jitsu. Each one tasting success and gold at one point or another.
In the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) one man dominated the welterweight division like no other before the likes of French-Canadian George St.Pierre. At one time Matt Hughes, a native of Illinois was the 'most dangerous opponent' GSP faced.
He lifted lesser foes without mercy and drove them into the Octagon canvas like a dummy. His ground and pound made men break and his ground game was very good as many suffered chokes and arm bars. His striking was never world class but Hughes used wrestling to dominate the 170-pound weight class.
The only thing more absurd than that was the night they woke Matt Hughes up and informed him that he was champion.
-UFC Middleweight Chael Sonnen
On November 2nd, 2001 at UFC 34 Matt Hughes did technically wake up to being announced the UFC welterweight champion after 'powerbombing' then UFC welterweight champion Cralos Newton. Hughes, avenged his mentor Pat Miletich's loss at UFC 31 and the win basically signified the end of Miletich's career as he would never fight Hughes and the beginning of Matt Hughes' dominant reign as UFC welterweight champion.
The fight showed the toughness of Matt Hughes as he confirmed he said ' i was out' upon reviewing the footage. Hughes, would go on to prove his win was no fluke when he stopped Carlos Newton by TKO at UFC 38.
Hughes always stated that it is easy to win the title but to be a real champion you have to defend it. Matt Hughes did exactly that, seven times. In his two reigns as UFC welterweight champion he defended against Hayato Sakurai, Carlos Newton, Gil Castillo, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg (twice) and BJ Penn.
He is also one of the few men to hold a win over Georges St. Pierre (21-2) and has beaten both Renzo & Royce Gracie. His legend and hall of fame status is unmatched in many respects. The lone blemish he hates to read on his resume are defeates to Dennis Hallman but with both still active and posting wins in their upcoming respective bouts, Hughes may get hi chance.
On May 23rd, 2009 at UFC 98 Matt Hughes returned to the ocatgon after almost a year layoff from a crushing defeat to bloated welterweight Thiago Alves at UFC 85. He was facing the man he was originally slated to face after filming of The Ultimate Fighter season 6, Matt Serra. In a highly contested bout Hughes edged a win over his rival and the beef was squashed.
The old-timer was getting traction on the wheels.
Hughes, ventured into the middle east for UFC 112 to face the brother of the man he defeated at UFC 60, RenzoGracie. Matt Hughes the well-known legend was facing an old and battered Renzo who in his own respect a legend aswell. The fight was nothing special andMatt Hughes was the far superior striker as he battered Gracie with legs to the point he helped his adversary up.
Another W for the country boy.
Matt Hughes 2-0 since his loss at UFC 85 and even though one of his opponents appeared to have no business in the ocatgon. He did beat a former welterweight champion so his streak was nothing to be crapped on. Hughes set to a steep challenge in returning to form fighter Ricardo Almeida.
At UFC 117, Hughes was facing his third straight jui jitsu practitioner and one of the most opposing looking men in the welterweight division. Hughes, rocked Almedia and the crowd erupted in shock and awe and with no regard for the accolades held by Almeida he choked the black belt jui jitsu player for a win.
Matt Hughes was back and on the radar and it looked for a second that Hughes may cause more disruption in the heavily contested division. It was time to put up or shut as a trilogy was set for UFC 123.
As Matt Hughes was returning to form another man was returning to the welterweight division, the 'Prodigy' BjPenn. The series was tied 1-1 as both held stoppages over each other. When Penn beat Hughes it was a shocker as Hughes was just so dominant and bigger then the usual lightweight champion was. Unafraid of jumping weight to fight, Penn stopped Hughes for the welterweight title. A contract dispute with the UFC and Penn left and Hughes earned his title back. Hughes fought Penn in a must see fight which Hughes won when he crucifixed Penn and tko'ed a win.
UFC 123 was the final clash for the legends and at just:21 seconds of round 1, Penn sent the country boy down. A brutal hook folded Hughes and made Penn relevant at 170 once again.
Matt Hughes was scheduled to take another dance on the canvas against former TUF winner Diego Sanchez at UFC 135. A broken hand forced Sanchez to bow out from his 'dream' fight with Hughes and in stepped brash Josh Koscheck. Kos a wrestler who holds a win over Sanchez is a huge task for an aged veteran like Matt Hughes at this point. In everything but legendary status it would appear Kos dominates in. He has huge power, quick shoots and is getting more adpat on the ground. Koscheck suffered a brutal orbital bone beat down from GSP back in December of 2010 is making his return. Hughes has come back strong from knockouts as he posted wins of 1 or more everytime.
- -TKO loss to Jose Landis-Jons (Shidokan Jitsu: Warriors War 1) followed by 13 straight wins
- -TKO loss to Georges St.Pierre (UFC 65) followed by 1 win
- -TKO loss to Thiago Alves (UFC 85) followed by 3 wins
Is Matt Hughes going to find that same rebound magic he has had after being helped by doctors and referees? or is Josh Koscheck going to be another big L on the Hughes resume?
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