BJ Penn and Matt Hughes faced off for the third time in their careers this past Saturday night at UFC 123. Both fighters held a victory over one another, so the rubber match only made sense.
Penn was coming off two uninspiring losses to Frankie Edgar at lightweight, where he looked slow and unmotivated compared to the speedy Edgar. Penn has been known for his poor work ethic at times and, after the Edgar fights, this looked to be the case once again.
The UFC matched the two most likely in order to motivate Penn once again and to give Hughes a legitimate fight at 170 pounds. Many have speculated that Hughes could be making one last run for the welterweight title, and a fourth straight victory for Hughes over an opponent like Penn would have been a giant step in the right direction.
A loss Saturday night would be extremely detrimental to their careers.
Unfortunately for Hughes, the fight couldn't have gone any worse. Penn dropped him with a right hook in the opening seconds and followed it up with ground-and-pound, forcing the stoppage 21 seconds into the first round.
After UFC 123, what does it mean for the future of both fighters?