Hughes is considered one of the greatest legends of the Octagon as a former two-time welterweight champion with seven title defenses to his record.
His second fight against Frank Trigg is considered one of the greatest fights and comebacks in MMA history, still remaining as a part of UFC highlight packages to this day.
And if not for one win years earlier, Hughes wouldn't have been around for any of it.
Hughes claimed the UFC welterweight title for the first time in a bout against Carlos Newton at UFC 34 in 2001. The fight ended after Newton locked up Hughes in triangle choke, and, in return, the former college wrestler slammed him to the mat with an emphatic thud.
To this day there remains controversy about whether Hughes was asleep from the choke and just fell, or if he legitimately dropped Newton and slammed him on purpose. Either way, the result stays the same, and Hughes won the UFC welterweight title that night.
If the fight had swung the other way, however, Hughes was ready to call it a career.
"The Carlos Newton, the first fight, that was pretty pivotal for me. Because if I would have lost that fight, I was going to retire," Hughes said. "I had made my mind up before that."
Following that fight, Hughes went on to win five fights in a row, all successful welterweight title defenses.
Check out this entire interview with Matt Hughes to see what else the UFC Hall of Famer has to say about the look back on his career.