There was a time when fighting Matt Hughes meant signing up to get slammed through the mat before being mercilessly pounded on and dominated in a way that makes even tough guys want to go cry in the shower. Now, instead of being a feared force in the UFC’s welterweight division, he’s the guy everyone wants to fight, preferably soon, before anyone else has a chance to put a beating on him and claim whatever is left of the Hughes luster. It’s not enough of an indignity for a former champ to have every 170-pounder at AKA putting his name in the streets, now Paul Daley is doing it too:
“I want to fight Hughes, firstly because he’s a legend and second he’s former welterweight champion. He has a win over the current welterweight champion, and he has all the skills to exploit my weaknesses that the media and my ‘fans’ so often talk about. …I want Hughes, I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to fight me, unless he thinks he’s gonna lose.”
First of all, Daley’s two reasons for wanting a fight with Hughes are really one reason: Matt Hughes has a big name. But he does have a point when he says that Hughes has the tools to help us find out if Daley’s ground game is truly as weak as advertised. At least, the old Hughes had those tools.
But Daley-Hughes is the fight that makes the most sense, which is the really sad thing about it. A little less than three years ago Hughes was known for being the most dominant champ in UFC history. Now a fight with any other top ten welterweight kind of feels like a mismatch. That may not be as bad as the series of knockouts that helped land Chuck Liddell in angry tango-land, but it’s still depressing in a different way. It’s sort of like watching Metallica come out with increasingly mediocre albums, as opposed to watching Weezer fall off all at once.
Chances are that Daley will get his wish and the UFC will put him up against Hughes. Then at the very least we’ll find out whether “Semtex” has a better takedown defense than Matt Serra. We might also find out whether Hughes is still high enough on the welterweight ladder that a fight with one of the AKA boys will be inevitable. He claims he “has no interest” in fighting Josh Koscheck, even after getting called out on live TV. Makes you wonder what he is interested in doing. Doesn’t sound like it’s fighting.