Former two-time UFC welterweight champion and wrestling/UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes really helped in the pioneering of MMA. Between 1998-2011 Hughes built up an astonishing 45-9 record, including wins over BJ Penn, Matt Serra, Royce Gracie, Carlos Newton, Georges St-Pierre, Chris Lytle and many more.
Hughes retired after losing two on the trot to BJ Penn and Josh Koscheck and took a job as VP of UFC athlete development/government relations. It is clear that Hughes is still very in touch with modern MMA, as he spoke recently about vacated champ Georges St-Pierre:
"People have been catching Georges a little bit, and I'm talking the past three or four years. People have been catching up to him, to his abilities. He's at the age where he's going to start slowing down just a little bit. Georges has made a lot of money. Gosh, what's he got to prove? What's he want to do? I wasn't real surprised. I would probably be a little more surprised if he ever came back.”
Widely considered as the greatest P4P fighter during his prime, Hughes was the first man to beat GSP, and is currently the only man to submit ‘Rush’. Since then, St-Pierre took over as one of the greatest, and reigned atop the division for nine years before calling it quits in December 2013.
Whether or not Johny Hendricks is involved in that decision is unknown, as St-Pierre blamed the UFC’s poor treatment and drug testing policies for his walking away. Hughes continued:
“I don't think he wants to go in there and face Johny Hendricks again. Judging wise, it could have been close. Even though I did have Johny winning, the first round was extremely close. On the ground, Johny Hendricks won. He beat GSP up. In the rounds Georges won, he barely won. So I don't think he wants to go back in and take another beating like that against Johny Hendricks."
St-Pierre’s absence from MMA doesn’t have a time limit set, and his rivalry with the UFC is likely spelling out a sure bet for retirement. If GSP was to come back, an eventual rematch with Hendricks would have to happen. The UFC 169 judging controversy was overshadowed only by the news of St-Pierre’s semi-retirement, and leaves many questions floating around.
Check out the full video interview with Hughes, courtesy of Sportsnet, and stay tuned to LowKick.com!