(Great, just one more thing for Matt Hughes to lord over his brother when he gets back to the farm. PicProps: The Junkie, obviously.)
Long before he devolved into a fighter only interested in winnable bouts against other aging “legends,” there was a time during the early 2000s when – once every four months or so – you could absolutely count on Matt Hughes to show up in the UFC and beat the ever-loving dogshit out of some hopelessly overmatched opponent. That’s called consistency, people, and it’s the kind of virtue that will one day earn you a giant glass knickknack with your face stenciled on it. For Hughes, that day was Friday, when the 36-year-old former welterweight champion was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Hughes still has a rumored bout with Ricardo Almeida scheduled for UFC 117 and admittedly, it’s a little weird that the UFC insists on putting guys into its hall of fame while they’re still active competitors with the company. Almost like Dana White is trying to tell them something …
No matter what you think of Hughes as a human being, the résumé is pretty impressive: During his 12 years as an pro, Hughes has compiled a record of 44-7 and his 17 UFC wins still stand as the most all-time. He’s held the 170-pound belt twice, put together two separate six-fight win streaks, appeared as a coach on a couple seasons of “The Ultimate Fighter” and competed in what White (and this author) call the greatest fight in the organization’s history, when he defeated Frank Trigg at UFC 52 in April of 2005.
There were also some low-lights, obviously. His dabbling in the striking game during the late stages of his career had mostly disastrous consequences and recent losses to Georges St. Pierre (twice) and Thiago Alves contributed to him looking more and more vulnerable with every appearance in the cage. Though he won his last fight against Renzo Gracie at UFC 112 in April, Hughes’ performance made it easy to question the wisdom of sticking around much longer as an active fighter.
There isn’t much more for Hughes to accomplish in the Octagon and the fact that he did it all while coming off as perhaps not the nicest guy in the world really only added to his mystique. At this point, if he wants to ride out a couple more appearances beating up the Gracies and Matt Serras of the world, it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t earned it.
Next up, a creepy, life-size wax statue, perhaps?