After more than a year away from the sport, Matt Hamill returned to the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC 152 and defeated Roger Hollett. It's the first win Hamill has recorded since he beat Tito Ortiz in October 2010.
Hamill decided to step away from MMA after consecutive losses to Quinton Jackson and Alexander Gustafsson last year, but his comeback victory proves he still has some good fights left in the tank. The win moves his record to 11-4.
Even though the 35-year-old has been out of the spotlight for a while, fans will remember him as the only fighter to get a win over current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. The rising star was disqualified for illegal elbows after gaining an early edge.
After that marquee matchup, Hamill proceeded to score victories over Keith Jardine and Ortiz. His momentum came to an abrupt halt against Jackson, however, and he didn't recover before losing to Gustafsson.
Coming back after an extended absence is always a risk, especially for a veteran fighter. But Hamill's impressive performance on Saturday night proved he made the right decision. The bout happened on the undercard of Jones' attempted defense of his title.
On the flip side, it's a disappointing UFC debut for Hollett. He compiled a 13-3 record with various promotions and appeared ready to make the jump after an extended winning streak, but he couldn't overcome Hamill.
First impressions are key in the UFC due to the high level of competitiveness, but even more so for a fighter like Hollett, who had a lot of hype around his arrival. A loss to a fighter who had been away for so long isn't a good start.
It makes Hollett's next bout crucial. He needs to show that his loss to Hamill wasn't a sign of things to come and illustrate he can hold his own at the UFC level.
That's something Hamill has already done. And he did it again at UFC 152.