Home UFC Two-time welterweight champion and UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes officially retires

Two-time welterweight champion and UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes officially retires


Well it’s finally over. Another legend set in stone, another career ends and another pair of gloves hung up for good. The two-time UFC Welterweight champion and hall of famer Matt Hughes is officially moving on to the next stage of his career.

Suffering a first round KO loss to Josh Koscheck in his last fight at UFC 135 in Denver, it seems Hughes has had enough. Maybe his body has had enough or he didn’t have anything left to offer or maybe it’s a combination of the two. Many of may have been expecting such an announcement at some point, but given the delay in Hughes’ decision, it was rather unexpected.

With that said, don’t expect to see Hughes straying very far from the organization any time soon, seeing as he’s been offered a position within the UFC as its Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations.

After making an official announcement Dana White was questioned about the Hughes’ future, to which he had the following to say:

“He’s not going anywhere. Matt’s been with this company a long time. He’s been successful inside the Octagon, outside the Octagon, he’s been a very loyal guy to us. You guys always hear me talk about, when we were building this company in the early days, it was like the Wild Wild West back then. It was hard to explain, but there were always a few guys I knew I could count on, and Matt Hughes was one of those guys.

Matt Hughes never said no to anything. Fighting anybody or doing whatever he needed to help build the sport and build the brand. His new role with the UFC, he’s no longer the welterweight champion, will be the Vice President of athlete development and government relations.”

Retirement wasn’t the only announcement that was made however. Zuffa COO Lawrence Epstein also had some information to share regarding a new UFC code of conduct regarding fighter relations and behavior in and out of the octagon:

“It really isn’t something that’s new. It’s something that frankly was never put in writing. Our athletes need to live up to high level of conduct and make sure that everything they’re doing obviously inside the octagon and outside is applying to the high standards of the UFC.

“We took a look at the sports landscape, and took a look at what the major sports leagues like the NFL, MLB, NHL, etc., and looked at what some of associations are doing. The UFC relationship is that of an independent contractor, it’s not a relationship like the NFL where they’re employees of the teams. We looked to some of those organizations which have similar legal models. What we discovered is that those organizations had an individual for what they call athlete development.”

As Vice President of Athlete Development Hughes job will also include overseeing the implementation of this code of conduct.

“The role of that person first and foremost was to be a mentor. To keep guys out of trouble and keep them from making mistakes that could affect both their career and could tarnish image of mixed martial arts and the UFC. We took a look at our roster of athletes and in particular those who built the sport, which is what Matt has done. We also took a look at the record of those individuals, and I think Matt Hughes‘ record, not just as a fighter but as an individual, is second to none.”

Addressing the announcement from a personal perspective Hughes had the following to say:

“It’s funny the road God puts you on, you just don’t know where you’re going to end up. What started out as a hobby brought me to the UFC and here in front of you now. I love this sport, and the new position is the best way for me to stay in it moving forward. I look forward to using my experience to provide perspective to both the UFC and the fighters.”

And what better individual to oversee the behavior, conduct and morality of the UFC’s fighters than a man so morally bound to his faith and his respect for others. Not that religion plays a factor in one’s morality, but rather is a reflection of the good behavior he’s exhibited and the manner with which he’s conducted himself over the span of his career. I can’t remember a single situation where Matt Hughes spoke out of turn, talked trash or offended any of his opponents. Fitting then, that the UFC would select him for the position.

Hughes ends his career with a record of 45-9 as one of the most dominant welterweight fighters of all time. MMA Fighting‘s Ariel Helwani had a chance to speak with the former champ regarding the announcement. Check it out in the video below.

  • Good because i was tired of seeing him get his ass kicked. Now i hope Bonnie Joe Penn do the same damn thing.

    • hughes used to be my favorite fighter. im glad he can continue his career with the ufc. best of luck matt

    • Penn, Franklin, Wandy, Rampage….. there time has all come as well.

      • I wouldn't say Franklin's has, his chin has diminished a bit but only Forrest and Le have beat him in the last couple of years.

  • Wrong – Matt Hughes mentally retired 3 years ago, he was just in denial.

  • Matt Hughes has always been a specimen and the best thing about him is the fact that he never turned down a fight and always stepped up.

  • Champion or not, how long he was in and all that, I never really liked the guy. I respect him for his accomplishments, but he was never my fighter. I'm glad he finally bit the bullet and retired, because it was seriously over for him in the 170 division.

    Wish him all the best and everything, but I won't miss him.

    • He is a prick.

      • Yeah, one might sum it up that way. Another word that always popped to mind (for me) was arrogant. I mean I hate to say this, but in fights where I saw him got his ass kicked by the likes of GSP, Penn and Alves, I truly loved it, because I couldn't stand the guy. Heck, I pulled for him to lose to Gracie. Unfortunately, he did not.

        None-the-less, I wish him well.

        However and with that said and given the man's personality, I really (do) have to wonder about the job he's been given. I mean, I wouldn't exactly call him a people person or even a guy that's particularly loved or admired by all fighters. He's not exactly a Randy Couture, type.

        To be blunt, I think Dana has basically created a BS job, title and paycheck for the guy. Call it a thank you, call it whatever, but I think that's what it amounts to. Or to put it another way, if he doesn't show up for work or do anything, will anyone notice or care?

        • Have you ever seen the video where he was mocking GSP for tapping him out after their first fight?

          Did see how arrogant he was on TUF with Matt Serra after he beat Royce Gracie?

          I respect Matt for being a great fighter, but I don't think I've ever rooted against anyone as much as I rooted against him.

          I may not know him personally, but he strikes me as nothing but a prick. No, he is nothing like Randy Couture. In other words, he is a d**k.

          • @ UG

            Agreed with all of that…

            You know, a fight we never got to see, which I would of loved to have seen, would have been Hughes / Hardy. I really would have loved to have seen that match, go off. Hardy freaking hates the guy. Truly, it would have been one of the best, legitimate grudge / bad blood match-ups in all of The UFC. Pity they never put it together. Given Hardy's problems with wrestlers, it would have been a nice exit bout for Hughes.

            Oh, well.

        • What exactly was you pulling for him to lose to Gracie? Hope you didn't make a mess.

          • azzkika: I always root for the Gracies. By the way, Ryoce Gracie is my favorite fighter of all time.

          • @ azz-in-the-closet

            So, you're "that guy".

            The guy who has to make stupid, homo-erotic remarks like the one you posted, here. There's always one of "that guy" in every crowd. The who has to bring up a sex act, when talking about MMA. The type of guy you'd never feel comfortable having around your kids. You're that weird, creepy, old man, "known-to-the-police" type. You're "that guy". You're "that guy" no one ever wants around, because they're fearful of what he may say or do. You're "that guy".

            Anyway, good luck with whatever images you have going on in your head, azz.. I'd tell you to enjoy the fights on Saturday, but I'm not really sure what that would mean to a "guy" like you, because you are "that guy".

  • At least Hughes knows when "it's over", and retires, unlike a handful of fighters that should retire now but keep clinging on, as if they are going to actually make another run at a belt.

    In this sport your window of opportunity is short, and it is nice to see a fighter recognize when it is time, rather than keep on fighting. I'm sure his nice new cushy job with the UFC helps.

  • Hmm, I actually thought he was already retired

  • Never been a huge fan of him but take nothing away from the legend, truly one of the greats and he is the second best Mixed Martial Artist to ever fight at 170 pounds.
    There truly was a "Matt Hughes Era", he looked unstoppable for a long, long time.

    Aside from his legendary championship reigns and many records, here is some amazing things to take away from his ever lasting record:
    -First of the only two people to ever beat GSP and only fighter to sub him
    -First of only two fighters to finish BJ Penn
    -Second person to beat Sakurai (first is A. Silva) and first to stop Sakurai, while in his prime
    -Only person to ever beat Royce Gracie in the UFC, second of the only two men to finish him.
    -Not as big name win as the others but only person to submit Ricardo Almeida

    These are only some of the highlights of the legendary career of Matt Hughes

    • Zip

      Well said Keith, even though I was a huge fan. Damn, I just agreed with onemoreround 🙁

  • Something I really liked about Matt Hugh's career was his evolution, never ending even for his last fight.
    He started out as strong wrestler but eventually became a extremely dangerous submission grappler, offensively and defensively.

    He always remained a brilliant grappler but his striking evolved as well, with Hughes stopping the legendary tough Renzo Gracie with leg kicks and developed a wicked jab that was evident in the Koscheck fight.

    Something to note is Vitor Belfort is the ONLY remaining true "Old Lion" of the UFC, Matt Hughes has retired with all the other of his generation such as Chuck, Tito, Randy all retiring.