Does the UFC Owe Matt Hughes Another Shot at Victory?

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2012

LONDON - JULY 13:  Matt Hughes of the USA and current Welterweight Champion celebrates his win over Carlos Newton of Canada during the Ultimate Fighting Championship, 'Brawl in the Royal Albert Hall', in the Royal Albert Hall London, England on July 13, 2002. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)
John Gichigi/Getty Images

In a recent interview with Inside MMA on HDNet former welterweight champion Matt Hughes verbalized his desire to fight in the Octagon one more time. He cited his desire to go out with a win as his main motivation for wanting one more fight.

With Hughes' last performances, a knockout loss to Josh Koscheck preceded by a quick knockout loss to longtime rival B.J. Penn, it has become apparent that Hughes needs to ride off into the sunset or face the consequences of hanging on too long to a sport that has passed him by.

Hughes remains one of the greatest welterweights in the history of the sport, and with all of his contributions to the organization the question comes up: Does the UFC owe Matt Hughes another shot at victory?

Hughes' sentiment is easy to understand. When you hold a 45-9 record, you should be remembered more for your wins than your losses, and no one wants to walk away on a losing note.

Hughes' legacy will always be that he was one of the most dominant champs the UFC has seen. A two-time welterweight champion with seven total title defenses, few champions have accomplished as much as Hughes in their careers.

If Hughes were to get another fight and come away victorious, he would be able to walk away from the sport on his terms.

Hughes isn't the first superstar to want just one more fight to walk away a winner.

Most Recently Chuck Liddell, possibly the most recognizable face in the history of the UFC, badly wanted to fight nemesis Tito Ortiz one last time before walking away but was ultimately talked into retirement by UFC boss Dana White.

The latter stages of Liddell's career, riddled with knockout losses and glass jaw jokes, served to tarnish the Iceman's legacy, so it is easy to see why the UFC would want to prevent Hughes' legacy from being perceived the same way.

Should Hughes get his wish and fight one last time and suffer a knockout loss, that would be three losses in a row and could have a similar "Liddell effect."

So the question remains: Does the UFC owe Matt Hughes another shot at victory? Or should he be forced to not jeopardize his legacy with another loss?