Despite three losses in his last four fights, Hughes is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. For a while no other fighter in any weight class dominated the way that Hughes did. As the UFC Welter-Weight Champion, Hughes won 9 title fights. He also had a streak of 19 wins in 20 fights and did it by fighting everyone put in front of him including BJ Penn and Georges St. Pierre. Hughes took fights on short notice, fought when injured and represented the sport well. It’s pretty clear that Hughes is no longer the fighter he once was. Not many people will ever be the fighter Matt Hughes once was… but that’s not really the point is it?
Hughes is just 34 years old. If he was in a higher weight class, where power is usually more important than speed, he’d still be fighting and probably at the top of his game. Hughes isn’t big enough to go up in weight. So what should he do? Retire? Stick around and get beat by the top fighters? Fight lesser opponents to pad his record to keep a hand in the game?
Kevin Iole, who covers MMA for Yahoo Sports, says it’s time for Matt Hughes to retire. I don’t think so. I think that Matt Hughes has one more fight that should happen before he hangs it up. Hughes and Matt Serra have had bad blood for a couple of years now. Both feel that they have been legitimately disrespected by the other. It’s a fight that fans want to see. It’s a fight that both want to have.
Ioloe believes that Hughes should retire without fighting Serra. Iole’s contention is twofold: 1] Hughes doesn’t need the fight [he’s set for the Hall of Fame and 2] Serra could win and this would further tarnish Hughes’ record.
Obviously the decision belongs to Matt Hughes alone. But here’s my two cents: Hughes should take the fight. First of all, he wants to settle his grudge with Serra in the octagon. Second, it’s a fight that Hughes, Serra and fans around the world want. Third, it would be a headline fight and what better way to go out than with a win as a headliner. Fourth, even if he loses, he does it on his own terms. He’s still a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, only now he’s a bit richer. Fifth, fighters fight. Matt Hughes is a fighter.
Dana White has said that if Matt Hughes wants the fight, it will happen. So the ball is in Matt Hughes’ court. My guess is that Hughes will want the match. See, fighters fight. Matt Hughes is a fighter.
And that’s why I’m a Matt Hughes fan.