- Full name Matthew Allen Hughes
- Birth date October 13, 1973
- Birth place Hillsboro, Illinois
- Current age 41 years 223 days
- Height 5 ft 9 in
- Weight 170 lb
Quite simply the most belligerent one-man force to have ever competed in the UFC welterweight division, Matt Hughes will forever belong in the Hall of Fame on the same pedestal as the likes of Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell.
To sum up the Hillsboro Illinois fighter in statistical terms, he is a former two-time UFC welterweight champion, who successfully defended his belt a record seven times.
To paint a more graphical picture of Hughes, he spent over a decade acting as the UFC's iron man, slamming, choking and battering his way through the world's best 170-pounders, helping to instil a fear factor surrounding wrestlers with NCAA Division I backgrounds. Whether it is by shooting for the single-leg or implementing his suffocating clinch, once Hughes had a hold of his opponents, he rarely let them escape.
Ever since his UFC debut in 1999, Hughes had the knack of making the Octagon appear small to his rivals, providing memorable images in the process. The knockout victory of Carlos Newton to claim his first title, when Hughes was on the cusp of losing consciousness as he slammed his way to victory, was just the start of a stellar reign that saw the welterweight division bow to one man.
Epic fights involving Hughes arrived as regularly as clockwork. There was the rear-naked choke triumph over Frank Trigg, after Hughes recovered from the brink of defeat when a low blow went unseen, there was the flash armbar stoppage of Georges St-Pierre with one second of the round remaining, the come-from-behind win over BJ Penn, and the battle of legends victory over Royce Gracie.
Never known for his stand-up, Hughes made a career out of a combination of unstoppable wrestling and clinical jiu-jitsu, and it was only when the evolved version of Hughes himself - Georges St-Pierre - came to the fore that his dominance finally ended.
Wins over Royce Gracie, Frank Trigg and Sean Sherk were good, but Hughes' high point had to be the successes over BJ Penn and Georges St-Pierre. Penn may have damaged his ribs when in a dominant position, but these were nonetheless victories over two legends who played major supporting roles in Hughes' era of damage.
Defeat to Thiago Alves was a sad sight for Hughes, who looked distinctly past his best as he desperately clutched around for a takedown, eventually finding himself on the end of a shuddering knee. To add injury to... injury, Hughes' knee gave way from underneath him and he needed to be helped out of the Octagon.
"I'm not gonna come out here and be somebody's highlight reel. It's just not me. I just have to go back to the drawing board and see what's going on, see what I want to do. I've got to see what my family wants to do and I've got to pray on it."
Matt Hughes is a born-again Christian.
- Legendary UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes retires (Jan 25, 2013)
- Hughes: St-Pierre would be too quick for Silva (Nov 12, 2012)
- Hughes: White making it easy for me to retire (Oct 23, 2012)
- Hughes admits retirement on the cards (Oct 16, 2012)
Hardy not calling out Matt Hughes, just doesn't like him (Oct 10, 2012)