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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Matt Hughes will return to UFC action in 2011

By Zach Arnold | August 8, 2010

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FROM THE MMAFIGHTING.COM WEB SITE:

ARIEL HELWANI: “Matt, congratulations on a very impressive win. Can you talk about how you set up that submission?”

MATT HUGHES: “I think the submission got set up with the hook, which you could hear my corner ‘throw the hook,’ they yelled it for several seconds. So, the hook was there. I threw the hook. He was dazed, he went down and I got in a front headlock position and that’s an old wrestling move I used to use all the time in college wrestling and it’s probably something that Ricardo’s never seen. I mean, he’s a great grappler, but that’s just an old wrestling move that you know he was just unprepared of or he wasn’t thinking right from the knockdown.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So, do you think that you submitted him… it seems as though it was almost an arm-triangle, Anaconda, what was it that exactly?”

MATT HUGHES: “We always called it an arm-in front headlock. So, actually, it’s a blood choke, you know, I’m choking the blood off. But, I mean, people get very confident with their arm in there but it’s something where I could put a lot of power on it and I’ve choked a lot of people out with it.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “It seemed as though really your strength is what was able to allow you to finish that and a lot of people know about Almeida’s submission skills as you said. Did you think you would be able to submit him?”

MATT HUGHES: “I’ll be real honest, I knew going into the fight that that might that, there’s two submissions that I thought was going to come into play for me. The ol’ tried-and-true key lock and that front headlock, but I figured it would come about from him shooting on me to try to take me down. He did a great job on his feet, covering those inches, those last couple of inches. Great feints, so I didn’t know if it was a punch, kick, or a shot coming from him. Did a good job neutralizing my feet. He just let his guard down with a punch and I was able to knock him down and then put a submission on him that maybe he never seen before.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “I notice you have a cut here. How did you get that?”

MATT HUGHES: “About five weeks ago training. Pure fluke. It’s just one of those things that happens.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Was there a chance that you might not be able to fight? I mean, was it pretty deep?”

MATT HUGHES: “It was deep. had a good, some good stitches, but I mean it was five weeks ago, so it wasn’t going to keep me from stepping in the Octagon.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “All right, so I asked you prior to this fight, in Abu Dhabi you told me that you were not looking to fight in the next few months. Now, here you are, you were only in there for a couple of minutes. Any chance we might see you again this year?”

MATT HUGHES: “Not this year. I want to, I’ve got a lot of hunting to do in the Fall. That’s my passion, so I’m going to hunt the Fall out and come next year I’ll talk to the UFC and we’ll figure something out.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “A lot of people like to talk about what is left for Matt Hughes to do. You were just, you know, put into the UFC Hall of Fame, which congratulations by the way. But, I mean, what is there for you to strive for? I mean, you still in the title chase? Because you continue to look great out there.”

MATT HUGHES: “I tell you… what’s in it for me is I have a good time going to the gym every day. I have a good time doing the training, the time with my partners. I have a good time in the Octagon, so I mean why would I stop?”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Who would you like to fight next?”

MATT HUGHES: “I have no idea.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “No one out there?”

MATT HUGHES: “I’m still celebrating my victory I just had. So, I’m not worried about who’s next. I’ve got a lot of things to do this Fall, so I mean whoever’s next for me is not even on my mind right now.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “But I’m guessing you believe and you’re fully confident that you have one more title run left in you? Maybe another?”

MATT HUGHES: “I’m telling you that I’m not done fighting in the UFC, yet.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “And I’m sure you’re willing to accept The Gracie Killer label now at this point? C’mon.”

MATT HUGHES: “I’m not, just not a big nickname, never had a nickname, don’t want a nickname, and I don’t want to be labeled as a guy looking for the Gracies. I’ve never asked to fight a Gracie, the UFC’s always come to me with fighting the Gracies. Ricardo came to me. So, I mean, I don’t want that. I’ve got too much respect for them to be labeled The Gracie Killer.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Congratulations again, Matt, very impressive stuff.”

MATT HUGHES: “Thank you.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 17 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

17 Responses to “Matt Hughes will return to UFC action in 2011”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Would it be too much for all fighters to give that kind of interview after a fight? No bravado, just honest answers?

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    I still laugh when many people don’t have him in the Top 5. Even worse, many don’t even have him ranked in the Top 10.

    The guy has lost to GSP & Alves. He’s a Top 5 Welterweight and continues to show it. Has he slowed down? Absolutely. But he is a top tier fighter who is still showing high level fighting.

    • mattio says:

      A top five fighter who gets offended when other top five fighters ask to fight him?

      A top five fighter who gets to fight opponents none of the other top five fighters get to face?

      I think he just wants a bigger bank account, because he is surely not being tested like he is a top five fighter by the UFC at this stage in his career.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Hughes was the #1 Welterweight in the world. Since that time, he has only lost to GSP & Alves. He has had strong wins against Serra & Almeida. I don’t see how fighters can knock him out of the Top 5 when he hasn’t lost to anybody lesser and nobody ranked above him has lost to push him down as well.

        People are too quick to knock legit Top 5 guys out quickly… And then add unproven fighters like Nick Diaz or Dan Hardy who have no place anywhere close to the Top 5.

        • Almeida wasn’t ranked in the top 20, and I think its within reason to ask where it is that Serra really belongs.

          I think Hughes understands his place. He wants to fight his peers (i.e. legends) and that’s fine. He isn’t chasing a world title unless its a money fight like Anderson Silva. He’s no longer looking to participate at a world class level and has had significant periods of time away from the sport. I’d put him in the top 10 because he has accomplished a lot, but I don’t think he deserves to be elevated or even maintain a top 5 position by beating someone that a person in Hughes’ position should be a guy he dominates.

          You compare it to someone like, I dunno, Frank Trigg. He was a top 3-5 welterweight a few years ago. He was a top ten middleweight for a little while. You could argue he’s only lost to top guys – former champions or title challengers. But no one can reasonably say that Trigg is still a top 15-20 welterweight either.

  3. smoogy says:

    Predictably, Dana White is already indian giving the title shot Fitch supposedly won last night.

    • Smithers says:

      Fitch lost the last fight to GSP 50-43. What have you seen from Fitch since then that indicates the rematch would be any different?

      • 45 Huddle says:

        That has nothing to do with it. He earned his rematch with 5 straight strong wins. He deserves to be fighting for the title again.

        Should he be shunned from ever fighting for the title again because of his 1 loss in his last 23 fights? That’s BS.

        Now, if he loses to GSP for a 2nd time, then I can understand him moving up a weight class or not being given a title shot until GSP is no longer champion. But 1 loss shouldn’t kill a fighters career which is basically what you are questioning.

        As for Dana White playing games with Fitch I thought the same thing. Then I watched the post-fight press conference. Fitch was playing games just as much as White was. Fitch refused to answer the question about fighting Koscheck if Koscheck won.

        I like Fitch as a fighter…. But if he won’t even give a definitive answer on wanting to fight the winner of the next championship fight, then it’s hard to feel bad for the guy.

      • GassedOut says:

        Yes, agreed. Fitch hasn’t shown anything different that I have seen. One of the other MMA writers had the audacity to call his last challenge for the title a five-round war. I saw that fight, and it was more like a solid five-round beatdown. Don’t get me wrong, Fitch is a really tough fighter, but it should be the winner of Kampmann/Shields that gets the next shot at Georges.

    • I don’t want him to get the title shot anyhow. Winner of Kampmann/Shields should. Seriously, why shouldn’t they?

  4. klown says:

    1. St-Pierre
    2. Fitch
    3. Alves
    4. Hughes
    5. Serra
    6. Kampmann
    7. Thiago
    8. Koscheck .
    9. Hathaway
    10. Sanchez
    11. Parisyan
    12. Shields
    13. Daley
    14. Condit
    15. Hardy
    16. Swick
    17. Hallman
    18. Saunders
    19. Davis

    • How does Serra retain a top 5 spot in spite of having no wins against a top 15 welterweight in the last 3 years?

      • Jonathan says:

        Serra is ranked WAY too high. I’d picked 6 – 16 to beat him in a fight.

        • klown says:

          Serra is ranked unnaturally highly because of his freak knockout of GSP. Since then, his only losses are to GSP (#1), the best fighter in the world, and Hughes (#4) in a fight that was practically a tie.

          Hughes has only been defeated by Alves and GSP; Alves has only been defeated by Fitch and GSP. Until someone from outside the Top 5 defeats Serra, Hughes, Alves, Fitch or GSP, Serra keeps his rightful spot as #5 and all is right in the world.

        • If Hughes and Serra intend to never fight those guys, however, they get to keep it in perpetuity? This is a George Foreman situation – yeah, he won the world heavyweight title linearly by defeating Michael Moorer, but over time people lost respect for his claim because he was being given gifts over the likes of Axel Schultz. I feel the same about Hughes and Serra – Serra hasn’t beaten a top contender in forever and will not face a top contender. How can you rank someone like that so highly?

        • klown says:

          I agree with Alan’s message (of 3:39) but the problems you point to, Alan, are problems of matchmaking, not ranking.

          Hughes and Serra need to be put up against real competition. Failing that, the system does take care of itself, albeit at a glacial pace.

          Contenders don’t have to beat Hughes and Serra in order to surpass them in the rankings. They can leapfrog over them – but that requires defeating the likes of GSP, Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves. No easy task, and the UFC’s rematch-heavy approach to the welterweight situation further slows the process.

        • Problems of matchmaking or not, they are not easily fixed when guys have the kind of pull both Serra and Hughes do. Hughes is basically sitting on that ranking because he knows he can’t lose it. In fact, he’s likely to move up with Alves’ likely change to 185.

          Meanwhile, Shields comes back to 170 with a win over the #2 middleweight under his belt from his last fight, and a win in his next bout is against the #6 welter. I don’t see why Shields shouldn’t be ranked higher than either Hughes, Serra, Alves, or frankly, even Fitch.

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