UFC 135 Results: Ranking Matt Hughes' Greatest Career Moments

Sean SmithAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2011

UFC 135 Results: Ranking Matt Hughes' Greatest Career Moments

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    With his knockout loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 135, the illustrious career of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes may have finally come to an end.

    Hughes wasn't willing to announce his retirement in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, but UFC president Dana White told the media that it is likely Hughes will call it quits.

    Whether Hughes decides to fight again or not, he will go down as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history and a pioneer for the sport.

    There have been several great moments throughout Hughes' career, but we have narrowed them down to five accomplishments that stand above the rest.

5. Vs. Royce Gracie at UFC 60

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    Heading into UFC 60, Royce Gracie was far past his prime and about to compete with a new breed of competition in Matt Hughes. Still, Gracie carried with him a bigger name in the sport than anyone Hughes had ever fought.

    While the first-round TKO victory over Gracie was far from surprising, it was a huge notch on Hughes' belt and validated the fact that Hughes was one of several fighters who had taken the sport to a new level.

4. Vs. Carlos Newton at UFC 34

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    After being submitted by Dennis Hallman at UFC 29, Matt Hughes spent nearly one year competing outside of the UFC.

    After winning seven consecutive fights in a six-month time span, Hughes was asked to return to the UFC for a title fight against welterweight champion Carlos Newton, who had recently dethroned Hughes' trainer Pat Miletich.

    Despite getting caught in a triangle choke in the second round, Hughes was able to lift Newton over his head and knock the champion out with a slam. While there was some controversy that Hughes had also gone unconscious, Newton failed to avenge the loss in a rematch held months later.

3. Vs. B.J. Penn at UFC 63

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    During his second reign as welterweight champion, Matt Hughes met B.J. Penn in a rematch of a fight that had resulted in Hughes losing his title for the first time.

    Through the first two rounds, it appeared that history was going to repeat itself as Penn threatened Hughes with submission attempts.

    Hughes came out firing on all cylinders in the third round, though. After rocking Penn with an uppercut, Hughes secured the crucifix position and forced a stop to the fight after several unanswered punches.

    The win proved to be Hughes' final title defense of his outstanding career.

2. Vs. Frank Trigg at UFC 52

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    In another rematch with his belt on the line, Matt Hughes met Frank Trigg at UFC 52. Early in the fight, Hughes was hit with a low blow that went unnoticed by the referee. Shortly after the groin shot, Trigg rocked Hughes.

    For a moment, it appeared Hughes was going to lose his title due to these unfortunate circumstances. Hughes ralled back, though, and secured a rear-naked choke before the first round came to an end.

    Hughes' come-from-behind win over Trigg has become recognized as one of the most incredible comebacks in UFC history.

1. Vs. Georges St-Pierre at UFC 50

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    Two fights after losing his belt to B.J. Penn, Matt Hughes was matched up against Georges St-Pierre in a fight for the UFC welterweight title, which Penn had vacated due to a contract dispute.

    At the time, St-Pierre was one of the brightest young talents in the UFC, so many expected him to be a handful for Hughes.

    In the first of three meetings between the two welterweight legends, Hughes forced St-Pierre to tap with one second remaining in the first round. The win showed that Hughes still had something left in the tank, and St-Pierre would have to wait two more years before getting another shot at the belt.

    Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. Sean has also had his work featured on UFC.com, LowKick.com and TheMMACorner.com. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.