Former welterweight champion Matt Hughes will fight Chris Lytle on March 3 at UFC 68 this weekend, taking what he hopes to be a step closer to getting his title back from Georges St. Pierre.
To do that, naturally, Hughes needs to win. Same goes for St. Pierre, who is fighting Matt Serra at UFC 69 on April 7.
Hughes will clearly have the first crack at holding up his end of the bargain, going up against a former professional boxer turned mixed martial artist and welterweight runner up in during season four of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
For his bout with Lytle, Hughes will look to rekindle the dominant fighting style that helped him win 40 of 45 career MMA matches and become one of the most accomplished fighters in the sport, according to an interview with Dave Doyle at FOXSports.com.
It is the same dominant fighting style that Hughes inexplicably abandoned during his technical knockout loss to St. Pierre and the first two rounds against BJ Penn.
Here's a snip:
"I think, to be honest, my ego got the best of me. I wanted to prove I could strike with him [St. Pierre]. I can strike, but that's not my biggest strength. I need to go back to what works for me and that's using my takedowns to set up my matwork. I need to get back to basics. I need to get back to what got me to the top."
Late last year, Hughes often discussed retirement and his desire to spend more time with his family on their farm in Illinois. Now, Hughes appears to have rededicated himself to training and fighting altogether in the wake of his most recent loss.
So much so that he is still talking about a future showdown with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. It's old news here at UFCmania — readers have weighed in on the possibility for the last two weeks or so.
To read that discussion just click here.
However, Hughes adds a little more fuel to the fire with his most recent remarks, according to another section of FOXSports.com.
Here's a snip:
"That's on the back-burner for now [Silva] ... but I'll tell you what, what I saw in Anderson's title defense against [Travis] Lutter makes me think I'm a pretty good matchup for him. Travis one the first round and just made a couple mistakes in the second and got caught. Silva deserves credit for the way he pulled that one out, but what I've seen from him makes me think I'd match up well with him."
First things first: Chris Lytle, a man who virtually no one is talking about in this fight. Even UFC President Dana White seems resigned to the fact that Hughes is going to crush him, saying something like Hughes is going to come out like "an absolute beast" for the fight.
Maybe Lytle was sent in there to lose just like Randy Couture was fed to Chuck Liddell in 2003 ... and we all know how that turned out.
Is Lytle anything like Couture? Absolutely not. Can anything happen in MMA? Without a doubt.
One thing is certain, however. If Hughes does bring back the takedowns, slams and ground and pound, Lytle — and the rest of the 170s — will have a big problem on their hands in 2007.
And maybe even a bigger ego.