After basking in the adoration of the cheering crowds and soaking in the recognition and stardom that goes with being a champion, it’s hard to know when to say when.
History is littered with men who kept trying to do their thing long after their prime — great men like Tommy Hearns, Mohammed Ali, Chuck Liddell and Jerry Lewis! Is it time to add Hughes to this list of guys who just couldn’t leave the big stage?
Matt Hughes has nothing left to prove in the UFC. His resume reads like a fighter’s wet dream. The former two-time UFC Welterweight Champion had two six-fight winning streaks during his run. He defended the belt a record seven times and is the winningest fighter in the UFC. He beat a who’s who of guys including Carlos Newton, Hayato Sakurai, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, Joe Riggs, Royce Gracie, B.J. Penn, Chris Lytle, Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida.
He’s one of only two fighters to claim a win over Georges St-Pierre. What can he possibly do at this point to compare to this? Let’s face it, things can only go in one direction now for Hughes— downhill.
Maybe Hughes really doesn’t relish the idea of plowing the north forty all by his lonesome self. After his face plant knockout at UFC 135 at the hands of the younger and hungrier Koscheck, Hall of Famer Hughes told Joe Rogan that he wasn’t ready to retire but that he wanted the UFC to “put him on the shelf” for a while. Anyone else have a problem with that statement? Does he mean he wants the UFC to make him unavailable to fight? Does he mean he wants Dana to make the decision and force him to retire? Does that shelf have two silos and a John Deere on it?
Matt’s last two fights have ended in the first round from devastating knockouts at the hands of BJ Penn and Koscheck. Granted these guys are at the top of the welterweight division and can be called serious contenders, but does Hughes really want to fight a few tomato cans to put more wins on his record and not go out on a defeat? Does he want to follow Jardine and Baroni to fight in the minor leagues against lesser competition?
Leave a comment. Should Matt Hughes retire or do you think a country boy really can survive?